BizTucson Fall 2022

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FALL FALL 2022 2012

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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BizLETTER

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Fall 2022

Fall 2022

Volume 14 No. 3

Publisher & Owner

Steven E. Rosenberg Brent G. Mathis

Creative Director PHOTO BY STEVEN MECKLER

BizTucson is proud to present our second annual Women Leading the Region Awards, honoring the incredible women who advance Southern Arizona with their vision and dedication. This year’s honorees are thriving in the fields of academia, athletics, banking, bioscience, cuisine, education, healthcare, public service, real estate and technology. Tara Kirkpatrick, Rodney Campbell, Eva Halvax and David Pittman share their stories and accomplishments in this fall issue. Speaking of fall, this season marks the start of Arizona Football and so many other sports at the University of Arizona. Steve Rivera offers an in-depth profile of the man behind our phenomenal Arizona Athletics program—Athletic Director Dave Heeke. His steady leadership has experienced no deficit of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent departures from the Pac-12 conference. Through it all, Arizona fans truly have a steady leader and force in Heeke. So many exciting things are going on at UArizona. Jay Gonzales files an indepth report on the 10-year anniversary of Tech Launch Arizona. The university’s commercialization engine, TLA is bringing the life-changing ideas and technology developed by UArizona’s talented researchers to market powered, in part, by a local capital fund UAVenture Capital. TLA is shepherding a host of new companies, from new technology to recycle mine tailings, to better optical lenses, to STEM and Sports collaborations. This increasingly lucrative arm of UArizona has posted a $1.6 billion economic impact for the region. Loni Nannini posts a deep dive into the two-decade philanthropic legacy of Long Realty Cares Foundation. Established in 2002, the foundation provides a venue for individuals and agents in the iconic company to enhance the quality of life in the region. Since its inception, the foundation has given more than $3.5 million in support and donated to more than 200 different nonprofits. There is no shortage of incredible individuals in our region and Valerie Vinyard highlights one of them in her fascinating profile of Kathryn Bertine, one of women’s cycling’s most ardent advocates. An author, activist and former cyclist herself, Bertine has been steadfast in her push in her push to reinstate the Tour de France Femmes. This summer, the multi-day bike race

commenced. This summer, the Tour de France Femmes commenced. Bertine is still tackling the inequities in the sport and has written a book about her efforts, called Stand. As always, BizTucson Magazine eagerly awaits the annual El Tour de Tucson, which has raised more than $100 million over four decades for countless charities throughout Southern Arizona. Valerie Vinyard gives us a preview of this year’s race with tweaks to the route and many cycling greats making a debut, as well as an interview with the executive director of Perimeter Bicycling, TJ Juskiewicz. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has a new commander. Tom Leyde reports on the leadership change. Col. Scott C. Mills took command of the Rescue Attack 355th Wing in June, replacing Col. Joseph C. Turnham. Mills comes to DM from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and is a command pilot with more than 2,400 flight hours and 300+ combat hours. Finally, Rodney Campbell files a fascinating profile on Don Bourn, who leads Bourn Companies which for 30 years has completed more than 4.2 million square feet of development in retail, office, hospitality and medical in the U.S. Bourn continues to be a topranked employer in the industry and our community. We are grateful for our loyal readers, the tremendous support of our advertisers and our exceptional editorial team and their high standards of journalism.

Donna Kreutz Tara Kirkpatrick Jay Gonzales Elena Acoba Romi Carrell Wittman Valerie Vinyard

Contributing Technology Director

Mike Serres

Contributing Project Coordinator

Maricela Robles

Contributing Editors

Contributing Writers

Jake O’Rourke Loni Nannini David Pittman Steve Rivera Valerie Vinyard Romi Carrell Wittman

Elena Acoba Rodney Campbell Jay Gonzales Eva Halvax Tara Kirkpatrick Christy Krueger Tom Leyde Contributing Photographers

Brent G. Mathis Chris Mooney

BizTucson News Update (Email Newsletter)

Brent G. Mathis Tara Kirkpatrick

Member:

American Advertising Federation Tucson DM-50 Southern Arizona Leadership Council Sun Corridor Inc. Tucson Metro Chamber Visit Tucson BizTucson Magazine Issue 3 (ISSN 1947-5047 print, ISSN 2833-6739 online) is published quarterly for $16 per year by Rosenberg Media, LLC., 4729 E. Sunrise Dr., PMB 505, Tucson, AZ 85718-4534. Periodicals postage pending at Phoenix, AZ, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: BizTucson

Magazine, 4729 East Sunrise Dr., PMB 505, Tucson, AZ 85718-4534 © 2022 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in columns or articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

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Steven E. Rosenberg Publisher & Owner BizTucson

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Steve Rosenberg 520.299.1005 or 520.907.1012 steve@BizTucson.com

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BizCONTENTS

FEATURES

FALL 2022 VOLUME 14 NO. 3

COVER STORY: 103

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15 WOMEN LEADING THE REGION Mara Aspinall Erika Barnes Elizabeth Cantwell Mimi Coomler Marcy Euler Carlotta Flores Sarah Frost Reneé Gonzales Lisa Hagins Styne Hill Karla Bernal Morales Lea Márquez Peterson Kathy Prather Sandra Sagehorn-Elliott Michelle Trindade

60 DEPARTMENTS

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BizLETTER From the Publisher

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BizMILITARY Davis-Monthan Gets a New Leader

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BizSPORTS Heeke’s Long Road Leads to Tucson Vision for an Athletics District

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BizSCIENCE Speech & Hearing Sciences to New Level

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BizTOURISM Visit Tucson Annual Meeting, New Routes to Canada

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BizCYCLING Bigger, Better El Tour de Tucson Cycling CEO TJ Juskiewicz Tour de Force, Cycling Advocate Kathryn Bertine

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BizFOOTBALL Arizona Bowl Relaunched, $100 Million Economic Impact

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BizDEVELOPMENT Bourn Companies Specializes in Large-scale, Mixed-use Projects

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BizCONSTRUCTION New to Market Upcoming Developments in the Region

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BizFESTIVAL TENWEST Festival Returns

BizAWARDS Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson 2022 Awards FosterEd wins Social Venture Partners “Fast Pitch” BizRADAR On The Radar Region Receives National Acclaim

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SPECIAL REPORTS 67 SPECIAL REPORT 2022

$1.6 BILLION IN ECONOMIC IMPACT

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131 SPECIAL REPORT 2022

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION 2 0

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Tech Launch

COMMERCIALIZING UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA INVENTIONS

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ABOUT THE COVER Women Leading the Region Photography by Chris Mooney Creative Design by Brent G. Mathis Hair and Makeup by Gadabout

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

TECH LAUNCH Arizona 10th Anniversary ARIZONA

Y E A R S

O F

Long Realty Cares Foundation 20 Years of Impact

I M P A C T Fall 2022

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Change of Command Ceremony from top left clockwise – Col. Scott C. Mills, command of the Rescue Attack 355th Wing; Maj. Gen. Michael G. Koscheski, commander of the 15th Air Force, Col. Joseph C. Turnham and Col. Scott C. Mills; Air Force color guard at the Change of Command ceremony; Change of Command ceremony; Col. Scott C. Mills name plate reveal on a DM fighter jet

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BizMILITARY

Mills Takes Command Davis-Monthan Gets a New Leader

PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Tom Leyde

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has a new leader. Col. Scott C. Mills took command of the Rescue Attack 355th Wing on June 30, replacing Col. Joseph C. Turnham in a ceremony in a base hangar. Mills came to Davis-Monthan from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, where he served as the 57th Operations Group commander. He is a command pilot with more than 2,400 flight hours and more than 300 combat hours. As new commander, Mills also serves as installation commander for all of Davis-Monthan, supporting servicemen and servicewomen and operations assigned to the wing and 34 federal mission partners. “We all stand together right now at a time of uncertainty in the world,” he said, pointing out that there are unexpected challenges in Europe and elsewhere. “Our adversaries across the world are moving, changing and accelerating, and to deter fighting on the land, you’ve got to out-speed them, out-chase them and out-accelerate them,” Mills said. “And there is no team on this planet that I would rather be a part of to face that challenge than this one. The 355th Wing will always be ready.” Turnham commanded Davis-Monthan for two years and has moved to Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. There he is serving as director of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command Joint Operations Center. Turnham was presented with the Legion of Merit medal during the ceremowww.BizTucson.com

ny and was praised for his accomplishments at Davis-Monthan by Maj. Gen. Michael G. Koscheski, commander of the 15th Air Force. “We offer a heartfelt thank you to Col. Turnham’s tremendous leadership and support for the 355th Wing,” Koscheski said. He commended Turnham for his leadership during one of the most challenging times in the nation’s history. Turnham navigated the base through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and was involved in directing the airlifting more than 2,500 Afghan refugees as the U.S. ended its military operations in Afghanistan.

Command is a team sport, and I’ve been blessed with an incredible team.

Col. Joseph C. Turnham Outgoing Commander Davis-Monthan Air Force Base –

“He ensured the continuation of critical missions while safeguarding the health and safety or our airmen, our families and our community,” Koscheski said. The outgoing commander also helped strengthen the 355th’s Rescue Attack unit and developed relationships on and off the base, Koscheski said.

“Command is a team sport,” Turnham said, “and I’ve been blessed with an incredible team.” He said Tucson is a great place for an Air Force base “because of all the support you provide for us and our families.” “The truth is most of this incredible team isn’t even here today,” Turnham said to the audience at the ceremony. “They’re manning the gate. They’re sitting in the control tower. Most of this team of 6,800 airmen are out there making things happen because airpower is powered by airmen, not commanders. These are your accomplishments, not mine: extraordinary airmen doing extraordinary things. Thanks to this team, I’m leaving a base better than I found it and in better hands.” Mills said there have always been two constants. “No. 1, there’s always going to be someone who needs rescuing. And No. 2, there’s always going to be someone who needs to be attacked.” The 355th Wing was first activated in 1942 as the 355th Fighter Group, flying P47s and P51 Mustangs as escorts for bombers attacking Germany during World War II. It was active in Southeast Asia for five years before locating at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in July 1971. The change of command at DavisMonthan is conducted every two years. Change-of-command ceremonies in the U.S. military date back to July 3, 1775, when Gen. George Washington drew his sword under an elm tree in Cambridge, Mass., to assume command of the Continental Army.

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2022 SOUTHERN ARIZONA GO RED FOR WOMEN EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM

Live Fierce. Go Red! Losing one woman to heart disease and stroke is too many. The time is now. The need is real. Our strength is unmatched. There is no greater, more relentless force in the world than women united with passion and purpose.

Cristina Baena

October 28, 2022

Kim Bourn

Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa Together we are creating a healthier, more equitable Southern Arizona. Together, we are saving lives.

JOIN US

Trina Callie

Theresa Cesare

Isabella Conte

https://event.gives/soazgored The Southern Arizona Circle of Red is an inspirational group of dedicated supporters who have the passion, motivation and inspiration to drive change and improve the heart health of women across Southern Arizona. They’re devoted to amplifying the reality that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women by supporting Go Red for Women with their time, influence and financial resources.

Dawn Darling

Allison Duffy

Angie Fernandez

Natalie Fernandez Lee

Ruben Fernandez

Wendy Marquez

Jeannine Mason

Kimberly Neal

Tiana Ronstadt

Gina Slattery

Amber Smith

Carol Stewart

Dr. Kavitha Tipirneni

Sam Thomas

Sonia Vohnout

CIRCLE OF RED MEMBERS Ali Farhang Andrew Norden Anne Simek Barbi Reuter Carol Myerscough Carol Stewart Claudia Levin Cristina Baena Dawn Darling Dien Truong Donna Gallagher Dr. Basel Skeif & Allison Duffy Dr. Brian Blair Dr. Eric Cornidez Dr. Kavitha Tipirneni

Greg Couch Jeannine Mason Jill McKenna Jim & Wanda Moore Joe Kroeger Joelle Kahn Joshua Reddoch Joyce Roughton Katina Koller Kimberly Neal Loretta Johnson Marian Hannon Michael Metz – In Memory Mike Hannley Natalie Fernandez Lee

Neil & Ellen Meltzer Page Chancellor Marks Pattie Feder Rose Faitsch Ruben Fernandez Sonia Vohnout Stefano Esposito Tammy Kellett Teresa Nowak Teresita Flores Theresa Cesare Tiana Ronstadt Trina Callie Wendy Marquez

GO RED FOR WOMEN SPONSORS

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona | Bourn Companies | Chicanos Por La Causa | Cox Communications Crest Insurance Group | Guild Mortgage | Hydronalix | Michael and Claudia Levin Family Foundation The Newton Group NOVA Home Loans | Pain Institute of Southern Arizona | Ranaco | Sonora Quest Laboratories Snell & Wilmer | Tucson Pediatric Cardiology-Dr. Brian Blair | Tucson Electric Power

MEDIA SPONSORS





BizPEOPLE

Guy Shoaf

Lloyd Construction Company announced that Guy Shoaf joined the firm as project manager. Shoaf brings more than 30 years of experience in healthcare construction project management in the greater Tucson area. He’s held leadership roles for several construction organizations and his skills in the oversight of complex projects will be an asset to Lloyd as the company grows its healthcare portfolio

Carol Stewart Tech Parks Arizona leader Carol Stewart was promoted to VP at the University of Arizona. Stewart leads the UA Tech Park at Rita Road with a team of professionals that collectively has over 165 years of experience and is developing the UA Tech Park at the Bridges. She is also president of the UArizona Center for Innovation.

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COPYRIGHT WILLIAM LESCH

WATCH OUR IN-DEPTH COVERAGE IN OCTOBER

KVOA - News 4 Tucson teams up with

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The Region’s Business Magazine to Provide You With Expanded Coverage of the Fall 2022 Edition

FALL 2022 2012

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Tune in to KVOA - News 4 Tucson in October as our news team gives you in-depth coverage of the Fall 2022 Edition and in-depth Special Reports. We are honored to collaborate with BizTucson Magazine to bring you these news reports. For more information, visit our website at KVOA.com.

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ANGELIQUE LIZARDE

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KVOA – NEWS 4 TUCSON KVOA – NEWS 4 TUCSON www.BizTucson.com ANCHOR ANCHOR

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Dave Heeke VP & Director of Athletics University of Arizona

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BizSPORTS

Heeke’s Long Road Leads to Tucson

Michigan Man Finds a Home at UArizona For Dave Heeke it was a long and sometimes winding road to get from Michigan, where he grew up, to become the athletic director at the University of Arizona. The road took him from Michigan to Ohio to Oregon back to Michigan and then to Tucson. The 58-year-old son of a dentist and a nurse holds the official title of VP and director of athletics and recently completed his fifth year at UArizona. He just signed on to lead the $100 million athletics enterprise for another three years. Even from his distant stops, Heeke’s seemingly always had the UArizona in mind thanks to former UArizona athletic director Cedric Dempsey and Heeke’s admiration for Wildcats athletics. Dempsey and Heeke are both Albion College grads, as was legendary UArizona sports figure J.F. “Pop” McKale. “The first day at Albion, the dean of men walked us into the gym and said, ‘If you want to really amount to anything you need to be like these people,’ and one of those names on the wall was Cedric Dempsey,” Heeke recalled. “He was one of the great athletes at Albion College.” That was the early 1980s before Dempsey had become UArizona’s athletic director. When Heeke worked at the University of Oregon from 1988 to 2006, he www.BizTucson.com

watched how Dempsey ran UArizona’s program. “I was always keenly aware and observing Arizona all the time because of his leadership,” Heeke said. “Then he goes on to become the CEO and president of the NCAA. What a big influence from a college athletics leadership standpoint.” When UArizona athletic director Greg Byrne left in 2017, Heeke was hired by then UArizona President Ann Weaver Hart, who said he “was a perfect match” for the job. The following in Dempsey’s footsteps was complete. “I thought that was a place I’d like to be,” Heeke said. “I was thrilled to be a director at the Power-5 level of an iconic program with the importance of basketball, but there’s a strong brand nationally. People underestimate that a little bit. “I wanted to bring what I think are my principles and values to the program to make it the best it can possibly be from a student-athlete experience because that’s been the heart of this place. If you talk to people who have played here, they just love it because of that connectivity. I didn’t want to mess it up.” The first five years haven’t been easy. But there have been significant bright spots: improvements in infrastructure

like the $16.5 million Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center, $8 million in improvements at Hillenbrand Stadium and $15 million at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. There was another $15 million in improvements in football facilities, including new turf at Arizona Stadium. It all added up to $100 million in facility investments over a 5-year period. On a different side of the ledger, Heeke had to deal with a $45 million revenue shortfall in fiscal 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic when sports seasons went on without fans in the stands. The department ended 2021 with a $26 million shortfall, and measures were taken to catch up, including staff reductions and a $15 million bridge loan from the university. The department bounced back in fiscal 2022 by turning a $16.5 million profit. Heeke also had the difficult task of firing a head football coach, Kevin Sumlin, after three miserable years of football, and a head basketball coach, Sean Miller, in the midst of an NCAA probe and mediocre performances. Both coaches received multimillion-dollar buyouts on their contracts. “It’s never easy to make changes,” he said. “It’s people’s livelihoods. There’s a lot on the line. You want to do the right thing and try to handle it the right way. continued on page 40 >>> Fall 2022

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PHOTOS: COURTESY BOURN COMPANIES

By Steve Rivera


BizSPORTS continued from page 39 But, in the end, you have to step back and do what’s right for this program.” And there are new challenges on the horizon. There’s the realignment of conferences and the announcement that Pacific-12 Conference partners UCLA and USC are leaving for the Big 10 Conference. The advent of name, image and likeness opens the door for athletes to be paid. Negotiation of television rights for the conference are underway. UArizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins remains confident that Heeke will steer the ship through roiling waters. “Dave Heeke has provided strong, ethical leadership for Arizona Athletics,” Robbins said. “His top priority remains the success of our student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom. “He is an outstanding partner, and I am thrilled to see the continued implementation of Arizona Athletics’ strategic plan. With Dave’s leadership, Arizona Athletics will continue to provide distinctive pathways to success for our students, to bring our facilities into the 21st century and to create a world-class experience for our dedicated fans and community members.” Despite the hiccups of the last couple of years, Heeke has been able to take solace in the 570 student-athletes who have improved on their overall grade point averages in each of the last five years. “I take great pride in the success of our student-athletes,” he said. “We emphasize academics and cultural performance. And we are going to make sure that the student-athletes do the right things here in the classroom and outside the class.” Heeke has faced a lot of issues on his long road, 35 years in a career in athletics administration that began with his sights set on coaching. The former hockey-playing-turnedbaseball-playing, all-around sports guy thought he’d eventually be guiding young men as a coach. “I just gravitated that way,” he said. “I thought maybe I’d go coach in baseball or hockey or something.”

Then, life happened. He met his future wife, Liz. “I didn’t think coaching was exactly where I wanted to go. You could see the time commitment, but I wanted to stay in athletics, so I decided I’d go into the administration side,” Heeke said. That was shortly after his time at Albion College, where he got his economics degree. He wasn’t into accounting. He wasn’t into sales. He decided on graduate school at The Ohio State University. He went from this small liberal arts school to one of the biggest universities in the country, working for the intramural department and parking his car under Ohio Stadium.

Dave Heeke has provided strong, ethical leadership for Arizona Athletics. –

Dr. Robert C. Robbins President University of Arizona

“It was pretty cool,” he said. “Actually, it was kind of like ‘whoa.’ ” After two years “doing a lot of things in the athletic department, I then decided that’s what I wanted to do – be involved in college life,” he adds. He still didn’t have a full-time job, though. Then came a bit of motivation. His father-in-law – while at a dinner – asked Heeke to go outside with him. Heeke recalled his question: “ ‘Can you tell me again how you’re planning to make money on this sports thing?’ That was a signal that I’d better get a job pretty quick or his daughter wasn’t going to be with me for much longer.” Suddenly he was on his way to the University of Oregon − for a guy who had “never been west of Chicago.” “We made it in our Chevy Nova with everything we owned,” he said. “I was thrilled. I had a job and was in. They paid me $13,000, but I was in.”

Heeke was a fundraiser at Oregon and cut his chops under four different athletic directors and three different school presidents. He eventually became second in charge in the athletic department as a senior associate where he rubbed shoulders with people like Nike founder Phil Knight. “For me to be in that you get to learn so many things,” he said. “I tried to capitalize on every moment. You work hard because when big things happen you can evolve. When you have those opportunities, they just don’t pass you by.” The next thing Heeke knew, he took a job as the top man at Central Michigan, near home where he still had family. “It just all kind of came together,” he said. “I went to Central Michigan, where they obviously have a strong program in the MAC and a really good football program. I had a lot of friends and relatives that went to school there. So, it felt right. It was a really good environment.” He and Liz made a commitment to each other that they wouldn’t leave until all three of their children were out of high school. “We had opportunities, but we weren’t going to transfer them out of high school,” he said. “Family is really important. There’s enough transition in this business and it (sends) you around. I like commitment; I like staying somewhere and really making a difference and investing in the community and program.” As Central Michigan athletic director, there were different “pressures and challenges.” “I’m the kind of person who is very much a student-athlete centered athletic director,” he said. “I was a studentathlete. I understand the model. There is a lot out there to be tapped. You go through the U.S. collegiate sports model, see an athlete who is going through it and experiencing the education part as they turn into young adults. It’s super powerful.” He’s brought that philosophy to Arizona. “We’re going to work really hard every day,” he said, “and we will prove through our actions what type of program we have and the things that we can do and how we can add value.”

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Vision for an ‘Athletics District’

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

BizSPORTS

Improvements Could Amount to $1 Billion By Steve Rivera Dave Heeke and the University of Arizona have a longterm vision for the future of Arizona Athletics that comes with a huge price tag on facilities – at Arizona Stadium, at McKale Center and for the rest of what’s being called the “athletics district.” It’ll take patience, planning and, of course, money, which could be nearly $1 billion. An upgrade to Arizona Stadium in the range of $250 million to $300 million was on track before the COVID-19 pandemic hit more than two years ago. The construction would have had a massive impact on construction jobs, on contractors and for the Tucson economy. The stadium did get new turf for the upcoming football season – with Arizona’s signature Block A in the middle of the field – at a cost of about $1.6 million. There also is a fresh coat of paint on the west side of the stadium. “We’re going to dust off the stadium renovation plans that we had created 42 BizTucson

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prior to COVID,” said Heeke, UArizona’s VP and director for athletics. “That includes significant modifications to the west side.” He gave no specifics other than what fans will see during the 2022 football season. “I can’t really say too much because it’s really coming back to the table, and we’re dissecting a plan that was around it,” Heeke said. “Our effort is just some different options and phases.” But, he added, UArizona needs to improve the west side grandstand from the ground up which could include additional premium spaces that fans are looking for – a new concourse where there should be ample “support facilities for our fans,” including more restrooms, concessions, a gathering space, entrances and exits. Those will come in time, he said, but his plans go well beyond the stadium. The $1 billion is tied to an ambitious vision to revamp facilities and infra-

structure around the “athletics district” at Campbell Avenue and Sixth Street, highlighted by the Arizona Stadium renovation and additional renovations and expansion of McKale Center. Along with the athletic specific projects, the plan envisions creative public-private partnerships to enhance living and retail options throughout the footprint around the area completely transforming the entire district. “McKale has been stretched,” he said. “I’d love to open it up to have concerts again. It is a major facility.” The multi-year approach for the area includes retail shops, additional housing for student-athletes and the general student population, and perhaps another sports facility. “It would include both private and public partnerships, university investment, inspiring partners to come in from the outside to look at what can be done,” he said.

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Professor Brad Story Assistant Professor Aneta Kielar Associate Professor Nicole Marrone 46 BizTucson

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

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BizSCIENCE

Fighting Aphasia

University of Arizona a Leader in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences By Rodney Campbell Hollywood legend Bruce Willis recently had to step away from acting because of his struggle with aphasia, a condition that causes difficulty in conveying thoughts through speech or writing. The person knows what they want to say, but can’t find the words. Closer to home, one of the lingering effects of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery after an attempt on her life in 2011 is her battle with aphasia. Giffords wrote in a Washington Post editorial in April: “The bullet tore through the left hemisphere of my brain, where the language function sits, leaving profound and lasting damage in my ability to speak.” Much of Giffords’ care was coordinated by alumni from the University of Arizona’s Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Under the leadership of Mary Alt, the department works on solutions to issues that many people only know about in personal encounters. “A lot of people come to know and understand our field when they’ve had a personal experience,” Alt said, “maybe a loved one who had a stroke or has Alzheimer’s or a cousin with autism. We do so much it’s sometimes hard to comprehend.” Last year, Alt became head of a department that has long been a national leader in speech-language pathology and audiology and the sciences that support those clinical professions. Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences is part of the School of Mind, Brain and Behavior in the College of Science. Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, which became a department in 1971, places teaching and clinical work www.BizTucson.com

at the top of its mission. Its research work includes labs like the L4 Lab: Language, Learning, Literacy Lexicon; Aphasia Research Project; the Arizona Human Electrophysiology and Auditory Department (AHEAD) and Tinnitus Project; and WINGSS (Working Investigations of Novel Genes for Song and Speech). “One of the things that’s always been a strength of our department is our research,” Alt said. “We’ve been a nationally ranked top 10 program for 30 years. We’ve had long history of federal funding for research.” Current activity in the department illustrates the depth of that research. Aneta Kielar is researching parts of the brain and neural factors that affect language and how they change after a stroke or due to dementia. Kielar, an assistant professor with appointments at the BIO5 Institute and part of the teaching faculty for UArizona’s Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science, examines how neuromodulation techniques combined with behavioral therapy help people with post-stroke aphasia or with primary progressive aphasia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. She uses neuroimaging to map changes in the brain. Professor Brad Story, associate dean of the College of Science, and his colleagues seek to understand how typical speech is produced. The team developed a computer model that simulates the stages in which spoken sounds or sound combinations are planned, combined and transformed into the movements of the structures in the head and the neck used for talking. When this computer model simulates this move-

ment, it generates natural-sounding synthetic speech. Associate Professor Nicole Marrone, the James S. and Dyan Pignatelli/ Unisource Clinical Chair in Audiologic Rehabilitation for Adults, focuses on a project to help underserved and under-researched populations receive treatment for age-related hearing loss. “Building Research Capacity on Hearing Loss Interventions in Hispanic/ Latinx Communities,” is a collaboration with the University of Miami, Mariposa Community Health Center and San Juan Bosco Clinic. Marrone’s work is an example of how Alt and her department have prioritized multiculturalism in their work. Alt encourages researchers to get into the field to learn directly from the people they want to assist, some of whom live along the U.S.-Mexico border. “There’s often a big gap between what we learn in a lab or research study and how that impacts care in the real world,” Alt said. “What we’ve been learning is if you want the work to make an impact, you can’t just sit in your lab and run your experiments. Researchers need to work with the community.” While their efforts may not be at the forefront of everyone’s attention, the solutions that the UArizona researchers seek help many people. For example, an estimated 2 million Americans have aphasia and 3 million suffer from Alzheimer’s. “At some point in their lives, people will come into contact with what we do,” Alt said. “We just want to help people live their fullest lives.”

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BizTRAVEL

CAROL STEWART VP TECH PARKS ARIZONA

FELIPE GARCIA PRESIDENT & CEO VISIT TUCSON

A Northern Welcome

Visit Tucson Annual Meeting Highlights New Travel Between Tucson, Canada By Jake O’Rourke At Visit Tucson’s first in-person annual meeting since the pandemic, reflections on the past few years set the stage for encouraging developments ahead. Local business leaders filled the Copper Ballroom at Tucson Convention Center this summer for breakfast and speakers who addressed topics including regional tourism efforts, sporting advancements, hotel occupancies, film and television endeavors and especially, welcoming Canadian travelers to The Old Pueblo. Some key takeaways from the annual meeting: Visit Tucson has trained more than 100 new certified tourism ambassadors on top of the 100 they already have. These individuals are out in the community advocating for the value of tourism in Tucson while connecting visitors and residents to local businesses. Graeme Hughes, executive VP for Visit Tucson, said he believes that in addition to the increased efforts of the 50 BizTucson

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CTAs, the return of some of Tucson’s signature events have also aided the city’s tourism recovery. For instance, the 2022 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase returned at roughly 75% of its average capacity, which “was a huge win this past February and really set the stage for a lot of the other things we are doing,” he said. The Fort Lowell Shootout at Kino Sport Complex and El Tour de Tucson were other important returning events. Tucson sporting events recorded 35,000 hotel room reservations during the 2021-22 fiscal year and multi-year agreements are being made to bring consistent sporting events to Tucson’s prime venues to create more sustainable revenue, according to Visit Tucson. In January, Tucson was rated No. 1 out of 15 competitive cities in the western U.S. in terms of hotel room occupancy, according to Visit Tucson. Regional resorts averaged a daily rate of $300 per room per night during the

month of March--the first time this average has been realized during the history of the resort market in Tucson. Film Tucson Director Peter Catalanotte attributed recent cinematic success in Tucson to Duster, a new HBO series shot here by director J.J. Abrams. The project was in Tucson for six months, occupied roughly 9,800 hotel rooms throughout the city and hired 700 Tucsonans as either cast or crew, bringing in $10 million to the local economy. A central focus of the Visit Tucson meeting was the exciting new flights recently announced between Canada and Tucson. Thanks to the Tucson Airport Authority and Visit Tucson, Canada’s Flair Airlines will soon have a presence at Tucson International Airport. The independent Canadian carrier will offer non-stop, direct flights to Tucson from six cities across the northern border starting Nov. 30. continued on page 52 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizTRAVEL continued from page 50 “We didn’t get much traction from other cities, and after contacting Visit Tucson, we knew that the whole community in Tucson could get together to support what we are doing,” said Garth Lund, chief commercial officer for Flair Airlines. Lund, who has worked for Flair for 15 months, has helped the company grow from a fleet of three aircraft flying four routes to now 15 aircraft flying 80 routes. Flair is also soon taking a delivery for an additional three planes.

We need to make sure that these flights are successful, that we are bringing people here and encouraging everyone to go north and explore these beautiful cities we can now access.

– Felipe Garcia President & CEO Visit Tucson

“It goes to show you that relationships count,” said David Hatfield, TAA’s senior director of air service development. “We want to make it work, and we want to welcome Canadians to Tucson.” The first flight on Nov. 30 will carry passengers from Edmonton. A winter crew will be stationed in Tucson, and flights are set to continue through March 2023 as the trial run for the new departure cities. Flair hopes to make these flights available year-round to not only promote Canadian travel to the region but, reciprocally, to encourage Tucsonans to travel north during the summer swelter. Flair is also committed to making its flights more affordable. One-way flights will start around $100, and the plan is to offer flights to Tucson at least once a week, with increasing frequency, between November and March. Carol Stewart, VP for Tech Parks Arizona and a Canadian citizen, served as one of the panelists at the meeting. She said, “Tucson is invested in welcoming tourists, and that’s very Canadian. To open your doors and commit to people having a great experience and great success in your market is very Canadian.” Local officials believe that Flair’s new presence here will continue to bolster tourism. “We need to make sure that these flights are successful, that we are bringing people here and encouraging everyone to go north and explore these beautiful cities we can now access,” said Felipe Garcia, President and CEO, Visit Tucson.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

BANNER-UNIVERSITY MEDICINE EL TOUR DE TUCSON Saturday, Nov. 19 Events run Nov. 17-20 Start, finish at Tucson Convention Center www.eltourdetucson.org (520) 745-2033.

PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

El Tour de Tucson Board of Directors and staff, from left – Pat Lopez, Troy Jacobson, Shawna Ruboyianes, Damion Alexander, and Christina Benson. Not pictured: John Cole, Lee Walker, Bobby Verenna, Steve Morganstern, Charlene Grabowski and

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BizSPORTS

Bigger, Better El Tour de Tucson

Route Tweaks, Cycling Greats Mark the 2022 Race By Valerie Vinyard

Dr. Sam Keim, Amy Orchard, TJ Juskiewicz, Charlie Bowles Andy Guerrero

As the Banner-University Medicine El Tour de Tucson prepares for its 39th year, it’s even more noteworthy to consider its charitable impact: more than $100 million raised for local and international charity organizations since 1983. It’s a crowning achievement for a signature event that draws over 7,000 cyclists to Southern Arizona each year to traverse our rugged, beautiful city. The milestone, a goal of El Tour organizer Perimeter Bicycling for many years, was reached after 35 nonprofits raised $5.8 million in 2019. And the economic impact is just as impressive. Felipe Garcia, president of Visit Tucson, noted that last year, riders and spectators spent over $1 million on restaurants, retail and transportation here. Thousands of hotel rooms are already booked for 2022. “This is an event for destination visitors,” Garcia said. “The tour is just a celebration of Tucson. It brings people from all over the country, and Mexico as well, and some from Canada. They’re staying in our hotels, paying taxes, buying souvenirs, it’s new fresh money coming into our community, everyone in Tucson benefits from it.” Thanks to executive director TJ Juskiewicz, an esteemed list of cycling greats will participate this year. continued on page 56 >>>

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BizSPORTS continued from page 55 To help attract new riders and spectators, Juskiewicz has created new events, including a Prologue, or sort of VIP ride, before the big day on Nov. 19. He described the event as “a mini camp, if you will.” The Holualoa Companies Prologue will feature 50 riders, including procyclists George Hincapie, Kristin Armstrong and Christian Vande Velde among others. “We’re doing a Prologue for the first time this year,” he said. “It’s really kind of a who’s who in the cycling world. They’re also going to ride the event, which brings a lot of clout.” “That’s exclusive, it’s just a little extra,” said Juskiewicz, who used his connections to bring them to Tucson. “It brings a little star power to the event. People like seeing these people.” He said this year’s 102-mile route also has a few tweaks. “Our goal was to get the roads in the best shape as possible,” he said. Other changes include moving the start of the event from Armory Park to the Tucson Convention Center, where the Rio Nuevo tax increment finance district invested $65 million for a renovation that resulted in, among many upgrades, new fountains and parking lots. Tucson Realtor Damion Alexander hasn’t missed an El Tour since 2008. The cyclist shoots photos during the event and estimates he has amassed 50,000 images over the years. “It’s been a part of my life always,” said Alexander. “The great thing about this year is the route keeps getting better. Roads have improved; the route is just smoother asphalt every year.” He believes El Tour will continue to attract new riders, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. Alexander also noted that this year’s event already has 50 nonprofit charitable partners. “With COVID, people recognize the value of being outside,” he said. “Bikes were the avenue that a lot of people chose during the pandemic. I think we’ll continue to see growth.” There’s certainly no dearth of positive reviews of the event. As one reviewer wrote on the El Tour website: “Tucson is an incredible city and beautiful location for a large cycling event. El Tour brings together cyclists from all over the world and promotes cycling, personal fitness, and community engagement.” For people who haven’t participated in El Tour, Alexander has some advice. “I would say come out and watch, or even better, volunteer at an aid station, give out water,” he said. “You’re probably gonna see a friend. It’s a super fun thing that our community has. It’s also a major economic driver; it brings a lot of tax dollars. “There are so many ways to volunteer. Come out and make your community a better place.” Garcia also had a suggestion: “Wear sunscreen,” he said, chuckling. “I got burned.”

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The thing that I love about Tucson is this town is absolutely cycling crazy.

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

TJ Juskiewicz Executive Director El Tour de Tucson

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BizSPORTS

Cycling CEO TJ Juskiewicz Brings New Zeal to El Tour de Tucson By Valerie Vinyard For TJ Juskiewicz, taking charge of a large cycling event is, well, like riding a bike. Tucson-based Perimeter Bicycling Association of America marked a win when it wooed Juskiewicz into accepting the executive director job for El Tour de Tucson in 2020. He is supremely talented at anything bicycle-related, especially running major races and infusing new ideas into cycling events. And he’s even weathered the pandemic that disrupted what’s now a 39year history for El Tour. “The thing that I love about Tucson is this town is absolutely cycling crazy,” Juskiewicz said. “Everything has been so positive. Even last year, it was tremendously supported. When we’re up to full speed, I can’t even imagine how big an event this can grow to.” Juskiewicz moved to Tucson from Iowa, where for 17 years he successfully served as the director of Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, another top U.S. cycling event. According to its website, RAGBRAI is “an epic eight-day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie and community.” RAGBRAI also is the largest, oldest and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world. Before that, he lived in Florida from 1999 to 2003, where he built up the Bike Florida event to 3,000 riders. He was a coordinator of Bike South 2000, a 2,000-mile, 30-day bicycle tour of six southern states. Juskiewicz also served www.BizTucson.com

as the national president of the Bicycle Tour Network. El Tour, held in Tucson since 1983, is a major fundraising event in the United States and the longest-running event of its kind in Arizona. Riders range from beginners to serious competitors, but all help nonprofit agencies raise funds for their organizations. So far, the event has raised over $100 million for these charities. “It went really well in my eyes,” said Juskiewicz of his first year helming El Tour. “It was a tough year with the pandemic and all the uncertainty, not just for the participants, but the volunteers and staff, too.” In 2019, he estimated 5,500 people came to the event. Last year, he added, it was about 6,700. He’s hoping for 10,000 this year. “People are enthused all over the country,” Juskiewicz said. “We’re really reaching out regionally.” Juskiewicz himself is helping to fuel that enthusiasm, according to El Tour board member Damion Alexander, who credits El Tour’s continuing success to Juskiewicz’s leadership. “What TJ brought to El Tour is the experience and relationships that he had from RAGBRAI,” said Alexander, a Tucson Realtor and avid cyclist. “He knows everybody in the cycling world. It was completely a testament to his relationships. He’s doing a phenomenal job.” Alexander said Juskiewicz’s vision is “something that no one else has.”

“Volunteers came from all over the country,” he said. “They’re not just loyal; people love him. People get the culture. There’s this diverse group of people who maybe never rode in Arizona, but will because TJ has the relationships.” Alexander said Juskiewicz was a solid replacement for the previous executive director and founder of El Tour, Richard DeBernardis, who stepped down after a long tenure. Juskiewicz wants to make sure riders enjoy themselves during El Tour. “It’s how you make them feel when you get off the bike, or when they pull into a rest stop,” he said. “Those kinds of things you can elevate.” Tucson’s overall reputation and mild fall weather also help. “You can come, stay at a great resort, have world-class meals,” Juskiewicz said. “This is an absolute destination town.” Juskiewicz is also enjoying all the Tucson bicycling community offers in addition to the heralded El Tour race. He lives in Marana about a mile away from his favorite trail, The Loop — voted USA Today’s Best Recreational Trail in the U.S. for two consecutive years. “It feels really safe,” he said. “You do some of your best thinking when you’re on the bike, you’re separated from cars, you’re not climbing really much. It’s just so relaxing and such a treasure that we have here. I will take the loop against any bicycling facility in the world.”

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BizSPORTS

Tour de Force Kathryn Bertine is Women’s Cycling’s Most Ardent Advocate

IMAGES COURTESY KATHRYN BERTINE

By Valerie Vinyard Longtime cycling advocate and Tucson resident Kathryn Bertine was excited to watch the Tour de France Femmes on TV this year, a multi-day bike race for women finally reinstated after 33 years. “I’m thrilled for anyone to win this amazing race,” said Bertine, who is a fierce promoter for women’s cycling. Bertine spends her summers writing in New York each year, returning to Tucson in September to operate the Homestretch Foundation, an organization she founded in 2016. Homestretch provides a place for female professional cyclists to live and train rent-free in Tucson for up to six months. Bertine has a storied career as an athlete herself. Prior to her retirement from professional cycling in 2017, she was a professional triathlete and figure skater. She is also the writer, producer and director of a documentary film, “Half the Road.” During a recent phone interview, Bertine was in upstate New York where she was busily writing her fifth book. In 2021, her memoir STAND: A memoir on activism, a manual for progress tells the story of her fight for women’s equality at the Tour de France, and won 2021 Indie Book Awards Best Memoir and Best Social Change. Over the past six years, Homestretch has helped 80 athletes from 17 countries. The house holds up to eight female professional cyclists, who must be at least 21 years old. Bertine said that about 60% of its residents are from North America while 40% live elsewhere, such as Afghanistan, Mexico, Australia and South Africa. www.BizTucson.com

“We exist because there is a gender pay gap in women’s pro cycling,” Bertine said. “When that is equal, we look forward to shutting down.” In the meantime, Bertine raises funds for the Homestretch Foundation via homestretchfoundation.org. Bertine works hard to make the sport equal for men and women, and her fight to bring back the female version of Tour de France was a long time coming. She noted that at other large events such as the Boston Marathon, Wimbledon or the Olympics, men and women have an equal opportunity to compete. So, in 2009, she began reaching out to the Amaury Sport Organisation, the world leader in bicycle racing and the body that organizes the Tour de France. In the interim, she gained her first contract in professional cycling and made industry contacts during her tenure as a senior editor at ESPN. Those contacts helped her to found Le Tour Entier, an activist organization responsible for establishing La Course by Tour de France, a race for female professional cyclists that coincided with the conclusion of the annual Tour de France cycling race, which barred women since 1989. In 2013, Bertine started “the big fight,” as she calls it, with ASO, which also organizes a host of other competitive events in golf, running, sailing and off-roading. She and her Le Tour Entier partners created a petition on Change.org calling for a women’s Tour de France. The drive amassed 98,000 signatures. In 2014, ASO agreed to a one-day race for women. It was supposed to

be lengthened every year, but it remained a one-day event until 2022. Bertine didn’t give up, and eventually her efforts prevailed, culminating in the eight-day Tour de France Femmes. The event proved very successful, with over 3 million people tuning in to watch the Tour de France Femmes on television. The men’s Tour de France, as a point of comparison, had viewership of around 3.8 million. “The media problem, however, is (viewers) had to pay a subscription fee to watch the race,” said Bertine of the female Tour. “With men’s racing, it’s broadcast on subscription-free channels. The fact we had over 3 million people watching the Women’s race shows there is a demand.” While the event was a great success, Bertine said there is much work to be done. “Because of the exposure we gained from those years, we now have the Tour de Femmes for eight days,” she said. “We believe ASO can do a lot more. They’re not done yet in creating equity for women at the Tour de France.” She is hopeful change will continue to occur. “If I was able to effect change with a multimillion-dollar company in France, I think that goes to show that anyone can effect change anywhere in the world,” Bertine said. She added, “This isn’t just about women racing bicycles in France. The whole world moves forward when women are equal. There will be a trickledown effect anywhere in the world when women have an equal seat at the table.”

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Backing the Bowl

Sponsors, Supporters, Officials Ready to Get Arizona Bowl Relaunched By Steve Rivera Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl officials are champing at the bit for the upcoming bowl game. No one more than Kym Adair, the bowl’s executive director. She dreams of business as usual after two years of disruption. “We’re so excited and so ready to have a typical year,” said Adair, now entering her fourth year as the bowl’s executive director. The last two years were far from that. In 2020, the game went off without fans in the stadium, thanks to the COVID-19 disruption. Last year – at the 62 BizTucson

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11th hour – COVID-19 forced Boise State University to withdraw from its scheduled appearance with Central Michigan University, forcing the bowl’s cancellation. “It’s been a really challenging few years,” Adair said, “having no fans in the stands in 2020, but at least we played. And then having the real excitement about the 2021 game and all the things we had planned around the game, and then having that be canceled at the last minute was pretty heartbreaking – deflating, really.”

But, all of that is in the rearview mirror. Football fans in Southern Arizona should get to see two of college football’s best when the winners of the Mountain West Conference and MidAmerican Conference show up on Dec. 30 at Arizona Stadium. “We’re just really grateful for the support of all of our sponsors and supporters who have helped us,” Adair said. “If we can make it through those challenging times and be stronger on the opposite side here, we’ll be ready for another great game.” www.BizTucson.com


We’re just really grateful for the support of all of our sponsors and supporters who have helped us.

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

– Kym Adair Executive Director Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

BARSTOOL SPORTS ARIZONA BOWL Friday, Dec. 30

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“With the continued support of our sponsors and ticket holders, we’ll be able to give a significant chunk of money away next spring,” she added, to the tune of “several hundreds of thousands.” The usual trappings will return – fingers crossed – with a full week of pregame fun and postgame festivities bookending the big day. “We’re excited once again,” Adair said. “With Barstool Sports’ presence and influence, it’s going to be an amazing game. We’ve got a lot of fun surprises planned. And yeah, it’s gonna be as great as it’s ever been.” She and Arizona Bowl officials are preparing for anything, given what happened the last two years. “I’ve learned to have Plan B and Plan C … to have patience and roll with the punches,” she said. “We have the best community in the country. Honestly, we’ve got the best people helping and supporting us. They have great enthusiasm. Folks have been so disappointed about the challenges we’ve had the last couple of years, but they stuck with us and have given us the motivation

Arizona Stadium thearizonabowl.com

to continue to produce the game with great passion. We all want to make sure it goes on for a long, long time.” So do the conferences involved. “The Arizona Bowl is an integral part of Mountain West football,” said Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Following the inception of our partnership with the Tucson community to start the game in 2015, the bowl has quickly developed into a popular postseason destination for our football programs. The Arizona Bowl is essential to our goal of providing high-quality postseason opportunities for our student-athletes.” “We have enjoyed the opportunity to play in the Arizona Bowl,” said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher. “Tucson is a great destination with impressive athletic and hospitality facilities, in addition to competing with a strong opponent. All make for an exceptional bowl experience for our student-athletes and fans.”

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PHOTOS: COURTESY ARIZONA BOWL

All the game’s sponsors have stuck it out, she said, believing that Southern Arizona is prime real estate in the college bowl game market. The Arizona Bowl shows the beautiful landscape and vibrant lifestyle of Tucson and surrounding areas. “People know the importance,” Adair said. “A lot of people rolled over their sponsorship, so it would be credited for this year. Others just donated it to us. We’ve been really grateful for all of that support.” The Arizona Bowl has generated nearly $100 million in economic impact and given more than $4.5 million to local charities over the last eight years, despite the losses of 2020 and 2021, Adair said. Through the years the Arizona Bowl has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to community nonprofits. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to distribute the money in the way that we had hoped to,” she said. “We just haven’t had any revenue from the last two games to be able to do that. But we are anticipating that we’ll be able to start that up again after the 2022 game.


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Don Bourn Owner Bourn Companies

Uptown Landscape Plaza

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BizDEVELOPMENT

A Focus on Tucson

Bourn Companies Specializes in Large-Scale, Mixed-Use Projects By Rodney Campbell

JTED

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“We believe it will become a destination and gathering spot.” The work is part of Bourn’s focus on improving his adopted hometown. He got his start in Tucson when he moved here in 1986 after graduating from the University of Nebraska. He came to Tucson to work with Trammell Crow, which was the largest real estate development company in the country at the time. “They had a leasing position open in Tucson, which was their (market) entry for learning the development business,” Bourn said. Some of Bourn’s development projects were instrumental in revitalizing downtown Tucson. In the early 2000s, then-Mayor Bob Walkup would prod Bourn a couple of times a year to get involved. But not everyone shared Walkup’s vision of a vibrant downtown where people could eat, shop and live. “Many savvy real estate people cautioned me, but I thought it was an opportunity to continued on page 66 >>> PHOTOS: COURTESY BOURN COMPANIES

Forgive Don Bourn if he’s feeling a sense of déjà vu. His Bourn Companies is in the middle of a longterm revitalization of Foothills Mall for the second time. During the first go-round in 1994, the mall was at 12% occupancy. When Bourn sold the property in 1999, Foothills Mall was 95% full. Now, partly because of the 2015 opening of Tucson Premium Outlets in Marana, Foothills Mall needs reinvention. Bourn Companies reacquired the 750,000-square-foot center in late 2016 and will transform the space with a new vision. “The redevelopment of the Foothills Mall will have a major impact on the community,” Bourn said. “We have plans to build over 2 million square feet of space to include retail, restaurants and entertainment, hotels, apartments and townhomes, and corporate and medical office space, as well as open spaces, plazas and trails with a strong health and wellness emphasis.

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BizDEVELOPMENT continued from page 65 use our business to help our community,” Bourn said. “It turned out to be extremely challenging, but we are proud to have contributed, along with a number of other developers, to the re-birth of our downtown, which is important to our overall community.” Bourn Companies’ downtown work includes City Park, a 101,000-square-foot transit-oriented mixed-use project that includes dining, entertainment and office and retail space. The project is so appealing that Bourn Companies put its home office at the Congress Street site. Bourn worked with Hexagon Mining to place its international headquarters at City Park. “Bourn was a pleasure to work with,” Hexagon Mining Division President Nick Hare said. “Don and his team bring a humble, down-to-earth, realistic approach that creates a true business partnership compared to what is typically seen in the industry. We felt like we were working on the same side of the table throughout the project phase and after.” The final piece of the City Park project will be the redevelopment of The Indian Trading Post, a building originally constructed in 1897. Located downtown, the historic landmark will include a blend of office and retail space. The Bridges at 36th Street and Kino Parkway is another example among the many large-scale, mixed-used projects that Bourn has created. Located near UA Tech Parks, The Bridges is home to GEICO’s regional headquarters, a Pima County Joint Technical Education District (JTED) technical education campus, several residential communities and a 25-acre park. “We have evolved our business to execute large, integrated projects that include multiple uses,” Bourn said. “The deep understanding of the nuances of each of these product types allows us to best serve the needs of our traditional corporate office and retail clients with distinct attention to detail.” Deep knowledge of the region and its players is key. Matching clients with opportunities for success is a Bourn specialty. “It is a tremendous advantage to have more than 30 years of experience in Tucson,” he said. “Over three decades we built a fantastic team and great relationships across important areas of our business, with in-depth knowledge of the market. But we never assume that we know everything because our business is constantly changing and we need to be innovative and forward thinking.” Work never gets old or routine for Bourn and his team. Even after 31 years and more than 4 million square feet of projects, the organization is excited about opportunities to improve Tucson. “Our current projects are the ones that I am most excited about,” Bourn said. “Our ability to create great environments for our clients and our communities continues to get better and better.”

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SPECIAL REPORT 2022

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

TECH LAUNCH ARIZONA COMMERCIALIZING UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA INVENTIONS $1.6 BILLION IN ECONOMIC IMPACT

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BizINNOVATION

We make a concerted effort to make people feel comfortable – to help them understand our support and provide insight into intellectual property and the opportunities for impact available through commercialization. –

Douglas Hockstad, Associate VP, Tech Launch Arizona

TIME 2012

David Allen hired to build and grow TLA.

2013

Public-private partnership to build a Tucson Commercialization Network launched between TLA, the City of Tucson and Aztera.

2015

TLA negotiates deal with Alcon to license trifocal lens.

First awards event held to recognize UArizona inventors, startups and ecosystem champions.

SinofoníaRx launched to commercialize medication management system.

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Doug Hockstad joins TLA to lead licensing and intellectual property team.

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Tech Launch Arizona Marks a Decade From UArizona Minds to Marketplace

By Jay Gonzales

In the not-so-distant past, ground-breaking research conducted on the University of Arizona campus more often than not was destined for one place – academic journals. But since 2012, Tech Launch Arizona has pushed open the door to move life-changing technology and inventions

on a path to the consumer market. It’s a turnaround in attitude and operation at UArizona which has resulted in benefits for multiple constituents – for consumers, for the university, for the researchers who devote their lives to their work, and for society. “When TLA started, it was because university adminis-

tration made a conscious decision to become as good at commercialization as it was at research,” said Associate VP Douglas Hockstad, who has led Tech Launch Arizona since 2018 when he was promoted to replace David Allen, the organization’s first vice president, who answered directly to the president of the

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UArizona designated National Science Foundation Innovation Corps site.

SinfoníaRx acquired by Tabula Rasa Healthcare

David Allen retires. Doug Hockstad assumes leadership of TLA.

Commercialization Network project completes, and TLA hires Eric Smith as Network Manager.

President Robbins arrives at the UArizona

UArizona ranks #66 among the top 100 worldwide universities for granted utility patents.

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BizINNOVATION continued from page 71 university. “We were a top-tier research university, but we weren’t great at getting it out” into the market. Fast forward to fiscal year 2021. During that year, TLA executed 124 licenses related to inventions originating from university research, had 100 patents issued, and started 17 new companies. Since TLA began operating, 128 companies have been formed to commercialize UArizona inventions. In a report produced earlier this year, an independent consulting group estimated that in the five years from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2021, TLA had supported about 2,500 jobs, and generated $1.6 billion in economic activity, including $561 million in labor income and $59 million in tax revenues. TLA’s progress through the decade has been such that Tucson or the greater region, could develop into its own “Silicon Valley,” said Betsy Cantwell, senior VP for research, innovation and impact at UArizona where TLA resides in the campus organization structure. She’s not implying that Tucson will do what Silicon Valley does as an industry, but she said the region already has much of what it needs to build that type of “innovation ecosystem.” “We’re not missing any pieces,” she said. “We’re just at the infancy stages in a lot of areas. But it’s all starting to bubble.” Going commercial Before TLA emerged to show the way to commercialization, the university’s brilliant researchers, for the most part, focused primarily on publication. There was little to no focus on commercialization or generating the societal benefit from research as the end game for their work. They had to be convinced. “There were a lot of different moving parts that we were orchestrating,” said Allen, who was lured to UArizona from the University of Colorado where he ran its technology transfer

Rakhi Gibbons

Director of Licensing & Intellectual Property Tech Launch Arizona

Startups Launched

10

Royalties & Other Income

$10.4 million

Licenses & Options

116

Patents Filed

389

Patents Issued

87

Invention Disclosures

303

FY2021 Research Expenditures

$770 million Source: Tech Launch Arizona

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Technology Commercialization – Fiscal Year 2022

2019 Betsy Cantwell hired to lead Research, Innovation and Impact. TLA becomes part of RII. UArizona ranks #39 among top 100 worldwide universities for granted utility patents.


arm. “The sum of it is the faculty and the community were ready, and the new administration came in and said, ‘Here are the keys to the car. You go drive.’ “We laid down the roadmap of where we were going and we just gradually turned around the ship. But it doesn’t turn around quickly.” Hockstad said faculty at the time were not focused on or trained to think that their work might have monetary value or a potentially huge impact on society. “It’s true everywhere that as faculty are being trained, as they’re getting their Ph.D.s and they’re doing their early research, they learn to focus on publication rather than translation,” Hockstad said. “What’s drilled into them is to publish to become recognized.” Beacon of success Allen and Hockstad engaged local businessman Fletcher McCusker and his lifetime business partner Michael Deitch in the establishment of TLA, and they “scoured” the university for a technology that could become a beacon for what they hoped to achieve. McCusker and Deitch were fresh from the sale of a billion-dollar company they had taken public. “There was a small group of us who really believed,” McCusker said. “Doug Hockstad was a believer. He saw it happen at Michigan. (UArizona President) Bobby Robbins was a believer. He saw it happen at Stanford. Betsy Cantwell was a believer. She knew that you could meet the goals of both research and commercial activity. That small group of tenacious people just wouldn’t let go of the dog bone, and I think faculty members were won over and they saw the oppor-

tunities they created for them.” The search for a marketable technology uncovered medical software developed at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy designed to help insurance payers and physicians track and monitor prescriptions to mitigate dangerous drug interactions. The technology developed by UArizona researcher Kevin Boesen attracted $4 million in investment and a company was formed. That company, SinfoníaRx, was sold in 2017 for $130 million. “I think people were skeptical until they saw our first couple of exits,” McCusker said. “We’ve truly made a dozen or more faculty into millionaires because they’ve been able to advance their company.” Over time, Hockstad said, campus researchers have come to understand the possibilities of their work. They don’t always have an eye toward commercialization or a goal of getting rich, he said. But as they see the success stories of fellow faculty members, they become more aware of what TLA can do for them and their inventions. “I don’t know if there ever was a line in the sand that we crossed” to demonstrate what Tech Launch Arizona can do, Hockstad said. “The difference is that when we started, more or less everyone that we talked to felt that we had a lot to prove. Now, I would say, the majority feeling on campus isn’t that we have a lot to prove, it’s about how we can help them and work them through the process.” A marketing team headed by Paul Tumarkin has been instrumental in conveying the message that TLA is there to help.

“We’re making sure that we’re telling the right story internally at the university, that we’re reaching out to faculty and helping them understand what we do and how we can help them,” said Tumarkin, assistant director for marketing and communications. “We survey our inventors every year and the vast majority are happy with the service we provide and would recommend working with us to their colleagues. The next phase for us is to ensure that we continue to grow the numbers of university innovators engaged in the process and keep evolving our innovation culture.” One-stop shop Together, Allen and Hockstad built a one-stop shop for faculty members doing research and any UA staffers engaged in innovation that might have a commercial market. One of the key moves was embedding TLA licensing managers in the colleges where intellectual property – or IP – is produced, such as the colleges of Engineering, Optical Sciences, Medicine, Science, and Life Sciences and Agriculture, said Rakhi Gibbons, director of licensing for TLA. These specialized team members are physically located in the colleges’ offices and are close advisers to the faculty. They also keep an eye out for work that might have legs in the market. “The licensing managers, because they’re embedded, usually have a pretty good idea what the faculty and the college are working on,” Gibbons said. “They’re there, walking the halls with them. So, we start with a conversation. We sit down with the researcher and we talk about what they’re working on. And then our job is to think about that recontinued on page 74 >>>

TIMELINE 2020

TLA signs its 100th startup, GenetiRate 2, LLC

Alcon secures approval for trifocal lens in Europe and U.S. for patient use. www.BizTucson.com

2021

UArizona rises to #28 among top 100 worldwide universities granted utility patents.

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TLA celebrates its 10th anniversary.

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continued from page 73 search and find an application for it that could benefit the public in some way.” There are many ways that inventions get to market with the help of TLA. After first performing some due diligence on the invention, the technology can be protected with a patent, copyright or trademark. The rights to the technology can then be licensed to a company – either a startup or an existing company – that will carry on continued development and, eventually, produce a product. If a startup is the best path, the inventor will typically take a role in that company, possibly as a leader or as a technology adviser while a more experienced executive runs the new company. Because great researchers are not always savvy entrepreneurs, TLA licensing managers walk them through the process from start to finish, from hiring attorneys to handle the legalities of everything from company formation and governance to filing IP protection to licensing agreements. “The licensing managers are involved throughout that entire continuum,” Gibbons said. “Once we’ve identified a company, the licensing manager leads the transaction, eventually resulting in a license agreement. A license agreement gives a company the right to use our patents for that particular technology, to go and commercialize it.” If the decision is to take the invention to market via a startup rather than a license to an existing company, a group headed by Bruce Burgess, director of venture development, steps in and works on a plan to form a strong startup team that can lead the company and raise the venture capital needed. The expertise in this area is specific, said Burgess, a longtime entrepreneur with a number of startups under his belt. For the most part, it’s expertise that the faculty members don’t have. “They may say, ‘I’ve thought about possibly starting a company around this, but I really don’t know how,’ ” Burgess said. “That’s where the licensing manager will tap me on the shoulder and say the faculty member would really like to have a conversation, and we’ll sit down and start to have that dialogue.” 2,455 During the whole process, TLA staff examines everything from assessing the viability of an invention, 492 its uniqueness in the patent landscape, whether it can be protected 128 and how, and whether there’s a market. Hockstad said, “We make a con535 certed effort to make people feel comfortable – to help them under$46.9 million stand our support and provide insight into intellectual property and Source: Tech Launch Arizona the opportunities for impact available through commercialization.”

Bruce Burgess

Director of Venture Development Tech Launch Arizona

10 Years at Tech Launch Arizona Invention Disclosures

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Exclusive Licenses & Options Total Startups Total U.S. Patents Issued Royalties & Other Income

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Associate VP Tech Launch Arizona

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Doug Hockstad

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From Computer Engineer to Commercialization Doug Hockstad Leads Tech Launch Arizona to Prosperity By Jay Gonzales There was a point in his professional career when Doug Hockstad, like so many others, was at a crossroads – one path continuing toward his life’s work and the other in a direction still relatively unknown. A computer engineer, he had worked in the software industry. He had worked in established companies and a startup. He even had worked overseas. After what Hockstad called the “dot bomb” of the early 2000s, he left the startup and got his first taste of technology transfer. Thanks to his software experience, he was hired to help launch a software licensing program at the University of Michigan that would help in commercializing inventions from the university. Then came the crossroads. “I always assumed it would be a temporary role. I would do it for a while, then I would eventually go back to industry and do what I had been doing,” Hockstad said. “After a couple of years, I had an opportunity to go back to industry. “I realized I had to make a decision whether I was going to continue my career as I had envisioned it all my life or was I going to stay doing this. After a little soul searching I just realized that the decision would set the direction for the rest of my life. I really enjoyed what I was doing and the people I was working with, and I chose to stay on and keep doing that.” A dozen years later, Hockstad found himself at the University of Arizona in a similar role, but in an organization in www.BizTucson.com

its infancy. “I had been watching Arizona − kind of out of the corner of my eye − for a couple of years,” Hockstad said. “It never made sense to me that Arizona, as a top-tier research institution, was not showing up on the commercialization results that I would expect for that level of institution.” Tech Launch Arizona was formed under the administration of then-President Ann Weaver Hart. David Allen was hired to lead the new unit and get the office off the ground to start bringing UArizona research and technology into the market. “I reached out (to Allen) and said, ‘I want to understand what you’re doing.’ He reached back out to me and said, ‘you need to apply for this role.’ So I did and that was that. I saw it as an opportunity to be a part of something brand new, something that was going to really change, not just the university, but the region.” It was the beginning of a team that has since made a huge economic impact on the university, the researchers and inventors on campus, students diving into the tech transfer field, and the overall regional economy. “Doug’s a remarkable leader,” said Betsy Cantwell, senior VP for research and innovation at UArizona. She heads the Office for Research, Innovation and Impact where TLA reports. “We got Doug from Michigan, which is a place where they really look at this holistic package and value proposition,” Cantwell said. “Doug and his team try

really hard to measure the investors’ portfolios in the companies we spin out as startups. They work directly with Tech Parks (Arizona) on physical locations, making sure we have places in Tucson and in Southern Arizona for our startups. They’re very focused on impact measures that don’t just serve the university.” “Doug has been an excellent team leader and team builder internally,” said Paul Tumarkin, TLA’s assistant director for marketing and communications. “I think he understands every job in the office very well and is a great facilitator in that way. He also is very innovative, and he’s outward-looking and forward-looking at the possibilities and seeing where we can go next.” Though TLA was essentially new when Hockstad arrived, he knew that his decision to stay in technology transfer and to do it at UArizona was the right move. In 2018, Allen retired and Hockstad moved into the leadership role. In 10 years, TLA has started more than 125 companies, had an economic output in the billions, and has given researchers and inventors on campus an outlet for their life’s work that barely existed at UArizona prior to TLA’s formation. “There was never a time where I thought we can’t do this,” Hockstad said. “There was never a time where I thought this is a bigger bite than I expected. We knew what we were getting into, but we also knew what steps we had to take to make it happen.” Biz Fall 2022

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BizINNOVATION The following are companies that Tech Launch Arizona helped to commercialize inventions created by UArizona faculty and staff. Some already existed and others were startups launched specifically to commercialize UArizona inventions. All have acquired licenses for technologies that they are taking forward.

Alcon Category: Optics Year Licensed: 2019 David J. Endicott, CEO Inventor: Jim Schwiegerling Schwiegerling developed an implantable replacement lens for the eye that allows for mid-range as well as near and far vision and may eliminate the need for glasses or contacts for some. Alcon incorporated the technology into its novel trifocal intraocular lens, PanOptix. Alcon’s PanOptix lenses have now been implanted in over 1 million eyes around the world. Participating Unit: James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences www.alcon.com

Avery Therapeutics Category: Health/Medical Year Licensed: 2017 Jordan Lancaster, CEO Inventors: Steven Goldman, Jordan Lancaster, Jennifer Koevary A startup company dedicated to advancing tissue-engineered therapeutics to treat diseases and injuries to human muscle. Avery’s lead product, MyCardia, is a tissue-engineered heart graft developed to treat heart failure and is currently in the pre-clinical development phase. Participating Units: College of Medicine − Tucson, BIO5 Institute, Sarver Heart Center averytherapeutics.com

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Launching an Innovation Ecosystem Tech Launch Arizona Posts $1.6 Billion in Economic Output By Jay Gonzales

Though its decade at the University of Arizona may only be a blip in the school’s 137-year history, Tech Launch Arizona’s economic impact is already immense. As the university’s technology transfer arm, TLA’s work to advance intellectual property, patents, licenses, and startups – and the resulting impact on the region’s economy in the form of metrics like jobs and tax revenues – are making it a key component to developing what Betsy Cantwell calls an “innovation ecosystem” for the region and beyond. “I’m absolutely convinced we will develop more and more startups here in the region, some of which will become unicorn powerhouse companies,” said Cantwell, senior VP for research, innovation, and impact at UArizona, where TLA reports in the campus organization structure. A study of TLA for the five years from July 2016 through June 2021 determined that its work had generated $1.6 billion in economic output. The figure includes about $561 million in labor income, $59 million in tax revenues and more than 2,500 jobs supported. The future is even brighter, the study indicates. Over the next 10 years, TLA is projected to generate another $4.7 billion in economic output, $1.6 billion in labor income and $172 million in tax revenues. In the 10 years TLA has operated, there have been more than 125 startup companies formed, more than 490 licenses signed, and more than 500 patents issued to protect university research and technology, clearly establishing it as a driver of the overall economic development of the region. 80 BizTucson

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“Harvard, Stanford and other places have been at this for 50, 60, 70 years,” said UArizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins. “It’s part of our mission to develop new companies in the region, new job opportunities, to help the economy of Southern Arizona and to also give our students opportunities to stay here.” The general nature of the research being commercialized through TLA means that it is actually in its infancy when it comes to having massive regional economic impact, said Associate VP Doug Hockstad, who joined TLA in 2013 and was promoted to head the office in 2018 when the original VP, Dave Allen, retired. Many of the inventions, particularly new therapeutic drugs and other inven-

I’m absolutely convinced we will develop more and more startups here in the region, some of which will become unicorn powerhouse companies.

– Betsy Cantwell Senior VP, Research, Innovation & Impact University of Arizona

tions in the life sciences, take years to get the approvals needed to go to market. They also require venture capital – an area where TLA also has an economic impact by attracting investment from inside and outside Arizona. “We strongly feel the more that we grow this region, the more small companies, medium companies and large companies that we have, the more investment we’ll see coming in,” Hockstad said. “There will be more reasons for companies to stay here, and perhaps more importantly, more reasons for graduates to stay. “The old adage is, ‘Go to the coast to find the money.’ They won’t have to do that because it’s going to be here. We’re starting to see that more. We have at least a half dozen venture funds in Arizona now.” One of those is UAVenture Capital, a fund started by local businessmen Fletcher McCusker and longtime business partner Michael Deitch specifically to fund startups associated with the university and usually launched through TLA. The idea to establish the fund was pressed by Robbins when he took the president’s job in 2017. McCusker had just engineered a $130 million sale of a company, SinfoníaRx, that was borne from a University of Arizona innovation. Robbins “kind of nonchalantly asked me, ‘Can you do it again?’ I go, ‘Yeah.’ He says, ‘No, can you do it again and again and again.’ He said we need a fund, some risk capital to help these startup companies get off campus,” McCusker recalled. UAVenture Capital has invested $30 million into 11 companies that have www.BizTucson.com


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Codelucida

Category: Computers/Software Year Licensed: 2014 Shiva Planjery, CEO Inventors: Shiva Planjery, Bane Vacic, David Declercq

emanated from the university, McCusker said. Cantwell sees all of this as the start of the innovation ecosystem. She spent a portion of her educational and professional life in northern California, where she witnessed the development of Silicon Valley as a poster child for an innovation ecosystem. She holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She worked in a technology firm in the area and she also studied how Silicon Valley developed. “When it started it was nothing,” Cantwell said. “Stanford was nearby, but that area did not even have silicon until Fairchild Semiconductor started there. There was a NASA base and a university.” For the Tucson region to continue to establish itself as an ecosystem, Cantwell said, organizations and interests from all sectors, public and private, must contribute. The work done at TLA demonstrates that all things are possible. “First, you’ve got to have the ideas. Then you’ve got to have the support continued on page 82 >>>

Codelucida empowers the future of data storage with enhanced speed, reliability, and lower power usage. Codelucida develops software that enables flash-memory-based devices to have higher capacities, higher reliability, and faster speeds using less power at lower costs. These ultimately improve the efficiency and reliability of data centers, servers, and mission-critical storage that incorporate flash memories. Participating Unit: College of Engineering codelucida.com

eSight

Category: Optics/Health Year Licensed: 2019 Brian Beardsley, CEO Inventors: Hong Hua, Jason Kuhn To help the legally blind and those with low vision to function in daily life, Hua and Kuhn invented a wedge-shaped prism eyepiece design that provides both high resolution and a large exit pupil. The technology, which offers an image quality that has not been previously achieved, was licensed to eSight Corporation for its eSight 3 product. Participating Unit: James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences esighteyewear.com

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IMAGE: COURTESY FREEFALL AEROSPACE

FreeFall Aerospace

Category: Aerospace Year Licensed: 2018 Doug Stetson, CoFounder, President & CEO Inventors: Chris Walker, Ira Smith FreeFall’s revolutionary intelligent antenna system will enable the 5G Era. FreeFall’s unique 3-dimensional phased array antenna can provide high data rate communication at virtually any frequency at a fraction of the size and cost of any existing solution. Participating Unit: College of Science www.freefallmovingdata.com

Illustrative Mathematics

Category: Education Year Licensed: 2014 William McCallum, CEO Inventors: William McCallum, Cody Patterson, Ellen Whitesides Illustrative Mathematics is a not-for-profit company that provides common-core compatible lesson plans for K-12 math courses. With carefully crafted lesson plans and tasks, math concepts are taught intuitively. Additional supporting materials are provided online for teachers and industry professionals. Participating Unit: College of Science illustrativemathematics.org

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continued from page 81 system that Doug’s unit (TLA) provides to perfect patents, create the IP,” she said. “You’ve got to have an ecosystem within the university that allows them to get started. You’ve got to bring funders to the table early. They’ve got be able to find reasonably inexpensive labor. They’ve got to have places to go. They’ve got to have support services for startup companies. And they’ve got to have the right regulatory and legal environment.” Some of those pieces are already working within UArizona. TLA has a strong partnership with the university’s Tech Parks Arizona, even moving into the new building known as The Refinery at the Tech Parks at the Bridges where both units can work in close proximity. Tech Parks provides space and facilities for startups to get their businesses going in an environment where they can still be close to the university where many of the technologies are developed. Tech Parks has 83 startup companies operating through its University of Arizona Center for Innovation, the university’s affiliated startup incubator. “It’s really key that we’re in lockstep with Tech Launch Arizona and the entire ecosystem,” said Carol Stewart, VP of Tech Parks Arizona. “I think people are figuring it out. They’re watching us and they’re like, ‘There is something pretty grand going on.’ ” Over the long haul, Hockstad said, the type of ecosystem developing with organizations like TLA and Tech Parks and with full support of one of the region’s largest entities and employers, the university can feed on itself by keeping students and researchers within the region as a foundation for the economy, even if not all the newly formed companies succeed. “One of the things that I believe is that if we can create an ecosystem here where graduates can go right to a company or can feel comfortable going into a startup, that’s to everyone’s benefit because even if that startup fails, there’s another startup company or medium-sized or large company that they can go to. We get to retain a lot of our incredibly intelligent students,” Hockstad said, “and then we create an ecosystem that kind of feeds on itself as companies launch and/or fail and/or succeed.”

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Neuro-ID

Category: Software/Cybersecurity Year Licensed: 2015 Jack Alton, CEO Inventors: Joseph Valacich, Jeffrey Jenkins In a face-to-face interaction, you evaluate how a person answers a question, not just what they say. Their tone of voice and their body language provide you with additional signals about the quality of the response and their state of mind. Neuro-ID’s technology enhances online forms by revealing how questions are answered, not just what the answer is. In other words, the company enables its customers to read the digital body language of those interacting with their online forms. Participating Unit: Eller College of Management neuro-id.com

LUM.AI

Category: Computer Science Year Licensed: 2017 Kevin McLaughlin, CEO Inventors: Gustave Von Hahn-Powell, Mihai Surdeanu, Marco Valenzuela LUM.AI focuses on mitigating the innovation slowdown caused by information overload. The company applies natural language processing technology to augment R&D investments by distilling libraries of unstructured text and revealing mechanisms that matter. Participating Unit: College of Science lum.ai

NeuTherapeutics

Category: Health/Medical Year Licensed: 2021 Robert Diaz Brinton, Founder and President Inventors: Roberta Diaz Brinton, Kathleen Rodgers, Yu Jin Kim, Heidi Mansour NeuTherapeutics is developing a new therapy for Alzheimer’s disease designed to restore cognitive function in early-stage patients. The therapy is now proceeding through a Phase 2b clinical trial. The team found that the neurosteroid allopregnanolone, or allo, used to treat women with postpartum depression, promotes connectivity between neural networks required for cognitive function by generating new neurons and synapses in patients with the early stages of the disease. Participating Units: College of Medicine − Tucson, College of Pharmacy, UA Center for Innovation in Brain Science, BIO5 Institute www.neutherapeutics.com www.BizTucson.com

Lunewave

Category: Optics/Engineering Year Licensed: 2017 John Xin, Co-Founder and CEO Inventors: Hao Xin, Shufang Su, Min Liang, Siyang Cao Lunewave develops cutting-edge antenna and sensor technology for wireless communications and autonomous vehicle applications. The company has developed two products, including an automotive radar sensing system and a high-speed antenna originally invented at the University of Arizona. Participating Unit: College of Engineering www.lunewave.com

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Regulonix

Category: Health/Medical Year Licensed: 2018 Rajesh Khanna, Chief Scientific Officer Inventors: Rajesh Khanna, May Khanna, Vijay Gokhale, Reena Chawla, Erik Dustrude, Todd Vanderah Regulonix is developing a non-opioid-based compound for chronic pain reduction. The team observed a synergistic effect when the compound was combined with morphine or gabapentin, a promising sign that the compound could also be used in a dose-reduction strategy for painkillers that have negative side effects, including opioids, while maintaining high levels of pain relief. Participating Units: College of Pharmacy, College of Medicine − Tucson, BIO5 Institute, UArizona Health Sciences, UArizona Cancer Center www.regulonix.com

Phytocentric Solutions

Category: Agriculture/Life Sciences Year Licensed: 2021 Bibiana Law, CEO Inventors: Sadhana Ravishankar, Govindaraj Dev Kumar, Lubin Zhu, Bibiana Law PhytoCentric Solutions has developed proprietary natural antimicrobial products for consumer applications. The startup also provides testing services to the food industry. Participating Units: College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, BIO5 Institute

Procyon Technologies SaiOx

Category: Health/Medical/Devices Year Licensed: 2020 Manny Teran, CEO Inventors: Sairam Parthasarathy, Marvin Slepian SaiOx was founded to bring the benefits of heliox – a mixture of helium and oxygen – to those experiencing difficulty breathing. Heliox is less dense than air, thereby decreasing airflow resistance and allowing patients to breathe easier. This new respiratory assist device is small and portable, making it ideal for use in any setting, from intensive care units to the home. Participating Units: College of Medicine − Tucson, College of Engineering, BIO5 Institute saiox.webflow.io

Category: Health/Medical Year Licensed: 2019 Inventors: Klearchos Papas, Robert Johnson, Steven Neuenfeldt Procyon provides an implantable chamber fabricated from biocompatible synthetic membranes designed to hold allogeneic cells and protect them from immune rejection. Such cell therapy devices are designed to improve cellular viability and function through the delivery of oxygen. The same devices are suitable for holding sensors or acting as a subcutaneous drug delivery system. Participating Units: College of Medicine − Tucson, BIO5 Institute procyon-technologies.com

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Moving Tech to Market Firms Illustrate TLA Commitment to Innovation By Jay Gonzales For 10 years, Tech Launch Arizona has paved the way for inventions developed at the University of Arizona to make their way into the commercial markets either by way of existing companies who have licensed the technologies, or by way of startup companies founded to commercialize specific inventions. TLA’s work has resulted in the formation of over 125 of those startups since 2012. The following three companies are examples of the commitment TLA and the university have made to commercialize technologies developed around campus. Reglagene Reglagene is developing an efficacious, safe and orally administered brain cancer therapy. The therapy is designed to treat a wide variety of cancers, including glioblastoma, the deadliest brain cancer, and brain metastases resulting from breast and lung cancers – the two cancers most likely to metastasize into the brain, said Reglagene CEO Richard Austin. “The innovation of new and better therapies for the treatment of brain tumors has been slow,” Austin said. “After the first diagnosis of a brain tumor, most patients live less than a year.” TLA matched Austin, who has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and an MBA in pharmaceutical management, with one of the technology’s inventors, Laurence Hurley, who holds a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry. They and university researcher Vijay Gokhale founded Reglagene in 2018 to continue develop90 BizTucson

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ment of brain cancer therapies originally discovered in the R.K. Coit College of Pharmacy and the BIO5 Institute with TLA’s support. Hurley is now the company’s CSO and Gokhale is VP of discovery. “TLA played a crucial role in Reglagene’s founding,” Austin said. “TLA continued to support the company as we became operational, including mentorship, business coaching, grant-

TLA has been instrumental in identifying new inventions, assessing the commercial viability of new technologies and building a strong, engaged network of commercialization partners.

Moe Momayez Interim Head UArizona Mining and Geological Engineering Department –

writing training, pitch training, and organizing pitch opportunities in front of investors.” The company remains based in Tucson, opening the door for opportunities to contribute to the overall economic development of the region. “These businesses (launched by TLA) provide primary jobs that often are the reason many UArizona grads can stay in Tucson,” Austin said. “Due to the wealth of new technology coming out of UArizona, TLA is positioned to have an even greater impact in the future through even more company formations, especially as the talent base of experienced technology entrepreneurs grows in our region.” Auxilium Technology Group Arizona residents are likely familiar with the ever-present mine tailings – the massive piles of waste materials that are a byproduct of the mining industry, which historically has been one of the region’s largest economic drivers. A solution developed at UArizona and trademarked as Entail is a highly efficient extraction process aimed at pulling out useful materials from what has otherwise been treated as waste to minimize the environmental impact of the tailings. “Auxilium’s mission is to be the benchmark and ignite a sustainable tailing repurposing industry on a global scale,” said one of the inventors, Moe Momayez, a professor and interim department head in the Mining and Geological Engineering Department in the continued on page 93 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizCHARITY

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continued from page 90 UArizona College of Engineering. “Mining companies use our solutions to minimize the environmental impact of mine tailings while achieving net-zero emission and decarbonization goals,” Momayez said. He added that TLA helped in the formation of the company through mentoring, access to technology and other programs. “Auxilium is constantly working with TLA on not only exploring the commercial opportunities of new technologies, but also leveraging TLA’s extensive network to foster company growth plans,” Momayez said. Auxilium was one of two companies selected by BHP, an Australian mining company that is one of the largest in the world, to develop solutions to maximize the value of waste while minimizing the environmental impact. “The mining sector is a significant contributor to the economy of the state of Arizona with an estimated total economic impact of more than $6.5 billion,” Momayez said. “TLA has been instrumental in identifying new inventions, assessing the commercial viability of new technologies and building a strong, engaged network of commercialization partners.” UAVenture Capital With all the knowledge and innovation on the UArizona campus fueling the development of life-changing technology, there emerged a basic need that UArizona President Robert C. Robbins identified when he arrived on campus in 2017 – investment capital. Almost as soon as he arrived, Robbins challenged businessman Fletcher McCusker to develop a source of venture capital funding for the technologies that Tech Launch Arizona was working to commercialize. “He said we needed a fund, some risk capital to help these startup companies come off campus,” McCusker said. His answer was to establish UAVenture Capital specifically to support the companies and technologies moving toward commercialization with assistance from Tech Launch Arizona. TLA Associate VP Doug Hockstad

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BizINNOVATION

Science of Sport

Category: Education/Engineering Year Licensed: 2014 Ricardo Valerdi, Chief Scientist, Founder Inventor: Ricardo Valerdi

Science of Sport is a not-for-profit company developing sports-baseSTEM curriculum for K-12 students and teachers. Through partnerships with professional sports teams, Science of Sport provides camps to engage students as they learn how STEM subjects find real-world applications in sports, with a particular focus on disadvantaged and underserved communities. Participating Unit: College of Engineering sciencesport.org

SinfoníaRx

Category: Health/Medical/Software Year Licensed: 2014 Kevin Boesen, Founder Inventors: Kevin Boesen, Kevin Barber, Rose Martin, Nicole Scovis, Jason Reddick, James Kloster, Ann Kerschen, Martin Pelger, Matthew Smith, David Armena Amaya SinfoníaRx technology is a medication therapy management software for Medicare, Medicaid, MMP, exchanges and commercially insured patients. Every time a patient fills a prescription, their medication profile is reviewed for potential medication related problems. The company uses targeted outreach to address need areas including safety concerns, adherence to national consensus treatment guidelines, adherence to prescribed medication regimens, and cost savings opportunities. The company was acquired by Tabula Rasa Healthcare Inc. in 2017. Participating Unit: College of Pharmacy sinfoniarx.com

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BizINNOVATION continued from page 93 now counts as many as six venture capital funds in Arizona. It was easy to see that it was needed, Robbins said. “We can go get capital from the Bay Area or Boston, but they’re going to want the companies to move there,” Robbins said. “We want to keep them

here. We need some local working capital that will encourage people to stay here around the university and develop their companies.” UAVenture Capital has invested $30 million into 11 companies launched through Tech Launch Arizona, McCusker said.

“We’re more than just a research university,” McCusker said. “There are programs that start as research here that have unbelievable commercial appeal, and what was missing was venture capital. We’re providing that missing link now. We’ve become intimately involved with the university and, moreover, with Tech Launch Arizona.”

Biz

Tech Launch Arizona By the Numbers Economic Impact Study

Fiscal Years 2017-2021

Projected 2022-2031

(Measured in Job Years)

10,781

31,533

Labor Income

$561 million

$1.6 billion

Economic Output

$1.6 billion

$4.7 billion

Tax Revenue Generated

$59 million

$172 million

February 2022

Jobs Supported

Source: Tech Launch Arizona

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BizPEOPLE Ruby Holguin

Ruby Holguin joined Canyon Community Bank as Treasury Banking Officer. Holguin has been in banking for 19 years with a focus on business banking, branch management and Treasury Banking Services. She is key to the growth of the bank in establishing strong business relationships. Holguin is a member of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Cody McGuire

Cody McGuire joined Canyon Community Bank as VP/ commercial loan officer, with an emphasis on commercial real estate. McGuire has been in banking for 22 years, with experience ranging from retail banking, private client services and commercial real estate banking. He is a certified commercial investment member, graduating from the CCIM Institute, and currently serves as president of CCIM’s Tucson chapter.

Riley Rasmussen

Barker Contracting Project Director Riley Rasmussen was selected as one of 20 Top Young Professionals by Engineering News Record, Southwest Contractor. The award honors individuals under 40 in ENR’s 10 regions who have shown exceptional leadership and service throughout their careers. As Barker’s project director, Rasmussen guides the management and quality of project work done in the Arizona market. www.BizTucson.com

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PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

BizAWARDS

By Tara Kirkpatrick Our second annual Women Leading the Region issue spotlights 15 stellar individuals whose contributions to academia, athletics, banking, bioscience, cuisine, education, healthcare, public service, real estate and technology are truly advancing our region.

From driving life-changing university research to helming a century-old iconic restaurant chain to leading Tucson’s major hospitals and many other critical roles, these incredible women elevate Southern Arizona as they lead with vision, dedication and humility.

We are honored to share their stories and accomplishments. Our sincere gratitude to Gadabout SalonSpas, who provided hair and makeup services for the honorees, as well as photographer Chris Mooney for his outstanding pictures. continued on page 104 >>>

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MARA ASPINALL Managing Director BlueStone Venture Partners

Mara Aspinall is a biotech industry executive and healthcare trailblazer who is passionate about educating the community on the importance of diagnostics, genomics and personalized medicine. Aspinall is managing director of BlueStone Venture Partners and the former president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems, now Roche Tissue Diagnostics, a global leader in development and commercialization of tissue-based cancer diagnostics. During her tenure, Aspinall helped increase market share and global growth. She spent 12 years as president of Genzyme Genetics and Genzyme Pharmaceuticals, where she helped set an industry standard for quality, while growing the firm at unprecedented rates. The business was sold to LabCorp for $1 billion. “I love strategic and operational challenges and working with great people because it enables me to learn and improve,” Aspinall said. “I have the privilege and responsibility of working in an industry that is all about people’s health; and it’s not just about individual health, but also impacts community wellness and population health.” She is proud to lead BlueStone in Tucson because “it gives us the chance to invest in the next generation of healthcare and life science technology companies. Three of our companies are based in Arizona.” Aspinall co-founded the School of Biomedical Diagnostics at Arizona State University, the first school dedicated to diagnostics as an independent discipline. The school awarded its first master’s degrees in 2014 and has almost 100 students in the program this year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aspinall emerged as a national expert on COVID testing and served as an advisor to The Rockefeller Foundation. She co-authored the foundation’s national reports on public health policy. Aspinall is a board member of Abcam, Castle Biosciences, OraSure, Pyx Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona; and co-chairs the Arizona Biosciences Board, a CEO group that encourages venture capital for innovation-based technology companies. She also serves on the boards of Sun Corridor Inc. and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. “Mara is a true force,” said SALC President and CEO Ted Maxwell. “Her expertise, commitment and engagement in any endeavor she takes on always results in improvement and impact. Whether it has been her business, education, community or scientific ventures, she has a track record of incredible success. Mara makes everyone around her better.” Aspinall was named Arizona Biosciences Leader of the Year in 2016 and one of the “100 Most Inspiring People in Life Sciences” by PharmaVOICE magazine. She has an MBA from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tufts University.

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PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By David Pittman


ERIKA BARNES

Executive Senior Associate Director of Athletics,SWA University of Arizona

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By Tara Kirkpatrick The first sentence of Erika Barnes’ bio says it all. “Arizona Athletics prides itself in developing Wildcats for Life, and Erika Hanson Barnes is the epitome of that mission,” her profile reads on University of Arizona’s website. Yet, the Arizona national softball champion turned executive senior associate director of athletics is the last to herald herself. Instead, she prefers the sage advice of her former coach, Mike Candrea. “You put your team first and the individual accolades come later.” Since joining Arizona Athletics in 2005, Barnes has served the Wildcats in many capacities, including oversight of all aspects of fundraising efforts and alumni letterwinners, sports administration and the C.A.T.S. student-athlete support services. When former AD Greg Byrne departed in 2017, Barnes was tapped as interim AD. The mother of two—she married Arizona letterwinner and PGA Tour caddie Andy Barnes – has been an integral part of six capital campaigns totaling $250 million, including Richard Jefferson Gymnasium, Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium and the McKale Center renovation. “She is a Wildcat through and through,” agreed Arizona AD Dave Heeke. “As a former student-athlete here and a long-term member of the administrative team, Erika bleeds red and blue. Her role is truly a key element to ensure that University of Arizona student-athletes have a first-class experience, which has defined our athletics program for decades.” Barnes was part of Arizona’s 2001 national championship team before graduating in communications with a minor in American Sign Language. “As players, we would do a lot of volunteer work with the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind and we had a few fans who were deaf,” she said. “I thought it was really important to communicate with them on game days...” Barnes earned her MBA from the Eller College of Management in 2010. She is truly a welcoming presence at all Wildcat sports. Barnes serves on the Pac-12 Council, which governs conference policies. She oversees all fundraising for the Wildcat Club, she is the designated Senior Woman Administrator for Arizona Athletics and just finished a four-year term on the NCAA Softball Selection Committee. She also is a member of the board of directors for Ben’s Bells, a nonprofit with a mission to spread kindness. For Barnes, it’s a fitting example of her character. “Having integrity and playing by the rules” are key to leadership, she said. “And the golden rule – treating everyone like you would like to be treated. Athletics is a service industry and we are servant leaders.”

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ELIZABETH CANTWELL

Senior VP for Research and Innovation University of Arizona

To be true to herself, Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell walked away from graduate school at Stanford University. The University of Chicago graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in human behavior, walked into an orientation for the school’s social work program and knew it felt wrong. She left the school, followed her intuition and pursued an illustrious career in science, business and engineering. “No matter what you major in in college, it doesn’t define you,” said Cantwell, senior VP for research and innovation at the University of Arizona. “So many of our students are so anxious about getting it right early in life, when you may not know what is right. “I loved science fiction,” she said. “I was motivated by space. The idea of going into a power plant and looking around was thrilling to me.” Cantwell went to community college to get her math and science prerequisites and set off on a career path that today advances UArizona and its tremendous research community. Cantwell, who holds an MBA and doctorate in mechanical engineering, has worked in leadership at the nation’s most prominent labs and institutions, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA headquarters and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. At the latter, she was part of the team, after 9/11, that helped stand up the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At UArizona, she is responsible for expanding the university’s capacity for knowledge creation and discovery and oversees innovation across campus. This includes the 1,267-acre UA Tech Park, home to more than 100 businesses including startups, IBM and Raytheon Technologies and contributes $2 billion annually to the region. “Dr. Cantwell is a tremendous leader,” said UArizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins. “Thanks to her knowledge and experience in creating the conditions for long-term research success, she is taking our research enterprise to new heights. This includes measures of current activity such as research expenditures, which are approaching $800 million under her watch...I am extremely glad she brought her talents to Tucson.” Cantwell recently helped spearhead, along with digital marketing specialist Rocque Perez, the inaugural Women of Impact awards at UArizona, which honored 30 women in August whose work addresses society’s biggest challenges. “We have truly remarkable researchers here,” Cantwell said. “The best of the best. The environment we have created here, it’s a moonshot culture. The really hard, low-probability big ideas are permissible to think about and talk about at this university. I love it and I revel in it.”

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By Tara Kirkpatrick


MIMI COOMLER CEO Tucson Medical Center

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By Tara Kirkpatrick If you want to walk in Mimi Coomler’s shoes, start with the hallways of Tucson Medical Center. The CEO of the top hospital in metro Tucson, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, has walked every single one. “The people who are in the room with the patient...my responsibility is to serve them and ultimately, the patient,” said Coomler, who was named to the top job in October 2021. “You can’t do that from an office, you have to be out and in the environment. That’s an important part of making good decisions in health care.” With more than 20 years as a nurse, including at a Pennsylvania wilderness camp for adjudicated kids, Coomler served TMC in several capacities before being named CEO. She was women and children patient care services director, VP and chief nursing officer, and senior VP and COO. She was also manager of critical care at Sierra Vista Regional Health Center and COO and CEO of Children’s Clinics for Rehabilitative Services. “We are so grateful to have Mimi as CEO of Tucson Medical Center,” said Judy Rich, president and CEO of TMC Health. “Her ability to show compassion, respect and empathy, even during difficult times, makes her a strong leader for our community hospital. She is courageous and confident, and truly cares about our staff, our patients and our community.” Coomler credits experiences early on in her career that shaped her. When she first came to Arizona, she worked in a rural area, often relying on hospitals like TMC for patients needing a higher level of care. Now, she is on the other end of that continuum at TMC providing essential care to acutely ill patients from throughout the state. “It’s the local aspect of this organization, we are excited to serve the community of Tucson and Southern Arizona,” she said. “When we have to make decisions here, we have a local board of trustees that guides our strategy.” That was especially helpful when it came to TMC’s COVID-19 leadership in both overall care and vaccination distribution. “We filled a need for our community in a really profound way,” Coomler said. “We recognized that we were the local hospital and could mobilize quickly.” Now as CEO, she is devoted to keeping the patient as her top concern. “My work is to actively seek ways to improve care and the right decision will always be one where the patient is at the center.”

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MARCY EULER President and CEO Pima Foundation

She may call herself “just a girl from Montana,” but Marcy Euler is a force helping to fuel Pima Community College into a valuable workforce driver for the region. As president and CEO of Pima Foundation, the mother of two helps steward funds given to PCC to modernize facilities, augment student resources and invest into its academic and economic capabilities. Of late, that includes the largest gift in PCC’s history–$2.5 million for its Center of Excellence in Applied Technology from the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation and a $5 million challenge grant from the Connie Hillman Family Foundation. “I love Tucson,” said Euler. “Since the moment I got off the plane for an interview when I was fresh out of graduate school, I knew I could live here forever. This community is deserving of greatness and I want Pima Foundation and PCC to be part of positively impacting the region for decades to come.” Euler loves many things about her job: “the people and relationships we have developed with donors who care deeply about our mission, students who are enormously grateful for the financial benefit they receive from scholarships; faculty who are able to expand program offerings that support business and industry labor needs; Pima Foundation board members who are wonderful ambassadors for our work; and my colleagues at Pima Community College, including Chancellor (Lee) Lambert, who are true partners with the foundation team.” “Marcy as leader of Pima Foundation has made an incredible contribution to Pima Community College’s mission,” said Lambert. “Not only is she great with people, but she’s very proactive, organized and student-centered. We are fortunate to have her on our team.” PCC has seen great progress these past few years, including a $15 million expansion of its Aviation Technology Center and a new, state-of-the-art Automotive Technology and Innovation Center near downtown. Euler has a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. Before joining Pima Foundation in 2018, she worked for the University of Arizona for more than 10 years and she was executive director of the Tucson Festival of Books from 2012 to 2017. “I think the most important leadership quality is integrity – both personally and professionally,” she said. “To me, integrity encompasses many different characteristics. It’s paying attention by listening intently, being trustworthy and extending trust to others. Integrity is an expectation in Pima Foundation’s culture where we value each individual and their diverse perspectives.”

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By Tara Kirkpatrick


CARLOT TA FLORES Owner Flores Concepts

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By Rodney Campbell Operating the nation’s longest-running, family-owned Mexican restaurant is more than a point of pride for matriarch Carlotta Flores. The chef and owner of Flores Concepts and Si Charro! restaurants is continuing the legacy of the original El Charro, which was started by her great aunt, “Tia” Monica Flin, in 1922 and is poised to celebrate a century in business. Flores is a true culinary icon who was named one of Forbes’ 2021 50 over 50 Women and was featured recently on two nationally syndicated shows: Taste of the Border on Discovery + network, and the 2022 Top Chef: Houston. “I feel blessed,” Flores said. “El Charro holds so many memories, celebrations, family gatherings, first dates, first jobs. Being able to witness so many milestone events and to play such an important part of not only feeding the stomach but, at times, the soul, is something we don’t take for granted.” Flores and her team have since opened Charro Steak & Del Rey, Charro Vida, Barrio Charro and The Monica. Her five grandchildren inspired her to branch out beyond traditional El Charro fare. “They are true foodies and their tastes and dietary needs along with incredible culinary talent like Chef Jenn (Dering) at Charro Vida and Chef Gary (Hickey) at Charro Steak & Del Rey and the vision of my son, Ray, we knew this was what Tucson and our brand was hungry for,” Flores said. “Our community has embraced the new concepts and, for me, it is exciting to do new things at this stage in life.” James Beard Award Winner Don Guerra, owner and baker at Barrio Bread, teamed with Flores to open Barrio Charro in 2021 – a pairing of two acclaimed creators whose eateries are certified by the UNESCO City of Gastronomy. “She has been a steadfast pioneer in so many ways,” Guerra said. “As a woman leading one of Arizona’s iconic restaurants, as a Latina chef putting Sonoran cuisine on the map and as a member of the community who never fails to come through for a family in need.” Flores has more than 400 employees working at her family’s restaurants, airport cafes and catering operations. “Next to motherhood, this is my greatest responsibility, not only to honor my Tia Monica’s tremendous legacy, but to provide opportunities for growth for my team, a legacy for my grandchildren, and for my community that has been so gracious and enveloping of our history and our food,” she said.

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SARAH FROST

CEO Banner-University Medical Center Tucson Banner-University Medical Center South

The woman who promoted Sarah Frost to COO at what was then University of Arizona Medical Center saw many things in her colleague that warranted the life-changing move. Karen Mlawsky, then the CEO at UAMC, pegged Frost as a person who could eventually lead Banner Health’s two hospitals and approximately 7,000 employees. Frost went on to become CEO at Banner-UMC Tucson and Banner UMC-South in 2018. “Sarah leads from her heart and her head,” said Mlawsky, now the COO at Watermark Retirement Communities. “She has unquestionable integrity and will do the right thing regardless. Her associates and patients are her priority. Sarah is known to be a straight shooter who cuts through the ‘noise’ quickly to get to the point.” Frost has spent the better part of two decades at the Banner facilities, giving her the opportunity to see and effect growth and progress, including the $443 million, nine-story tower that opened in 2019. Everything she does as CEO and the suggestions that her team gives are aimed at improving the patient experience. “I value transparency and honest communication, and I work every day to ensure that my teams have what they need to care for our patients,” Frost said. “I appreciate feedback, no matter how big or small the issue, because it provides us an opportunity to do better.” It’s common at Banner Health to have women such as Frost in key leadership roles–more than half of Banner’s senior managers are female. “The culture at Banner Health is incredibly inclusive,” she said. “I am proud to be one of many female leaders in our system and proud to say that there is nothing unique about it.” The challenges locally have been numerous over the past couple of years. Banner-UMC, the only ACS Level I trauma center in Southern Arizona, was even more hectic during the pandemic. Frost said Banner’s two hospitals, cancer center, urgent care centers and dozens of outpatient clinics provide more than a million patient appointments per year. Leading that charge is a responsibility that she relishes on good and tough days. “So much has changed in the last two years, and, like everyone else, there are good days and there are hard days,” Frost said. “We see heartbreak, but we also see joy and second chances. I am grateful to share all these moments with our community.”

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By Rodney Campbell


RENEE GONZALES CEO Long Realty Company

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By Tara Kirkpatrick

Running the region’s leading real estate company, Reneé Gonzales’ favorite part of the job is still the simple but life-changing act of an agent handing the keys to a new homeowner. “That’s why we do this,” said the CEO of Long Companies. “Our ultimate goal is to positively impact people’s lives. Buying a home can be one of the most stressful and largest investments you make...our goal is to help the consumer through the process so they feel like it was a great experience and they get the home they wanted.” Gonzales took over as CEO of the family-founded company in January 2021. Since joining Long in 2002, she has served as the executive VP of Core Services, president of Long Title Agency and managing director of Long Mortgage Co, which she helped launch and lead to fruition. She now oversees leadership and strategic planning for all of Long Companies, which comprise Long Realty Company, Prosperity Home Mortgage, Agave Title Agency and Long Insurance Group. “She’s a superstar,” said Steve Quinlan, chairman emeritus of Long Companies. “She really is one of the best hires I ever made. She listens, she takes the time to query the subject matter to make sure she is on the same page, she is very responsive. When she says something, she does it.” In leading a company of entrepreneurial real estate agents, Gonzales is essentially a CEO of CEOs. “They are the CEO of their own company,” she said. “We provide the training, the marketing, the offices and the culture for them to run their own businesses. We want them to be as successful as they want to be.” A Nebraska native and mom, Gonzales has become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on multiple real estate topics. She works often with HomeServices of America, the Realty Alliance–a network of the country’s top real estate companies. In addition to timely real estate issues, she likes to speak about building the individual business and the steps to success. “To me, the most important thing is helping people around me be successful,” Gonzales said. “Being a leader is being a supporter. I believe I’ve had a successful day when someone I’ve had a conversation with was able to move toward their goal.” As Long nears a century in business in Southern Arizona, she’s proud to lead that legacy. “It’s a family and we still run it as a family. We care about each individual that walks in the door.”

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LISA HAGINS Regional President OneAZ Credit Union

When Lisa Hagins first moved to Tucson, she knew she’d found her place. Originally from England, she arrived here when her husband retired from the military. They had never been to Arizona before and Hagins has never looked back. Now, 13 years later, she is the regional president of OneAZ Credit Union. Prior to Tucson, Hagins garnered rich experience in the financial industry by working for Bank of America on military bases overseas where she lived. In Tucson, she continued in banking but wanted to work somewhere that focused on giving back to the community. She found that at OneAZ Credit Union. “People are so warm and welcoming in Tucson, and it’s an environment where people nurture you. I feel there’s a big passion around nonprofit organizations and that there’s a real passion about giving,” Hagins said. “To me, Tucson is the heart of Arizona.” She began her career at OneAZ in 2013. Based in Arizona, OneAZ challenges social setbacks by using local connections to its advantage. In her role, Hagins’ empathetic nature continues to meld with an unwavering ambition to better the lives of women and underserved youth in our community. She aims to establish financial education programs in local high schools and colleges so young people can learn about investing, loans and other pivotal financial information. OneAZ’s mission emphasizes improving lives in the communities it serves, giving back through the OneAZ Community Foundation and its Five Pillars of Support – children’s health, food banks, financial education, veterans’ and first responders’ issues, and local youth programs. Hagins said $750,000 in grants and donations have been given to nonprofits since the foundation’s establishment in 2015, with a pledge of $500,000 in 2022. “What’s really important to me is leading with your heart, and having a passion for your team. And I think that’s how I got to where I am. I love my team, the community of Arizona and being a part of that,” Hagins said. She is also a board member of I Am You 360, a nonprofit that mentors homeless youth in Tucson and provides small homes, hygiene products and other resources. She helps support financial education and an “I AM SOMEBODY“ curriculum to boost self-confidence and independence in young people, particularly women. “Lisa Hagins is a natural-born, compassionate leader,” said Desiree Cook, I Am You 360 founder and CEO. “She also is invested in her community for direct and long-term impact and does it with grace and style.”

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By Eva Halvax


ST YNE HILL

Chair – Community Foundation Southern Arizona Board of Directors

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By David Pittman With wisdom, skill and dedication, Wyllstyne D. Hill advanced to lofty executive levels within the high-tech, male-dominated military defense industry, while also contributing a long history of volunteer service that has benefitted numerous causes. In an amazing 42-year career at Raytheon Missiles Systems, Hill climbed the ranks, taking on ever-larger projects and management positions until ultimately rising to VP and chief information officer overseeing a staff of more than 550 IT employees inside Southern Arizona’s largest private company. After retiring from Raytheon, she became the founder and president of her own firm, Styne Hill & Associates, which specializes in business and information systems strategies, including project management, leadership development, and program and data integration. Hill is highly respected for her sustained leadership efforts helping various community causes, including the University of Arizona President’s Black Community Advisory Council, the Arizona Technology Council, Tucson Urban League, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and UArizona’s Management Information Systems Board of Advisors. She currently chairs the Community Foundation for the Southern Arizona Board of Trustees. CFSA president and CEO Jenny Flynn said the organization is “lucky” Hill leads the board. “Styne Hill is a systems thinker who strengthens processes and operations, is committed to our community, and demonstrates deep care for the people she works with,” Flynn said. “As a new CEO, I benefit every day from her decades of business experience as a pioneering woman of color in technology, leadership and community causes. Hill began her career at Hughes Aircraft, which later became Raytheon, after graduating from Tuskegee University in Alabama in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in computer science. She later completed the Arizona Executive Program through UArizona’s Eller College of Management and has additional certifications from University of Chicago, University of Southern California and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “When I joined the company in the early 70s, the engineering field was male-dominated and there were few women and Blacks working in the engineering area,” Hill said. “I came to Tucson armed with a math and computer science degree and even though my first job was ‘general clerk’ to the department manager, I analyzed automated processes and designed reports to improve workflow, eliminate waste and improve the department processes and output. Wihin six months, I was promoted to production control and data analysis/metrics lead. I had leaders and mentors who helped me expand my skills in order to be promotable and I am grateful.”

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KARLA BERNAL MORALES VP Arizona Technology Council

Karla Bernal Morales, a leader in education, nonprofit and governmental endeavors, is proving to be a huge success in her new position managing the Southern Arizona Office of the Arizona Technology Council. The ATC is the state’s premier trade association for science and technology companies. Morales, named VP in March 2021, oversees the organization here, which includes responsibility for strategy, development, operations, support of policy development, business goals and objectives and financial matters, as well as recruiting and retaining members, securing sponsorship and supporting events related to the region. “Karla Morales is an outstanding community leader who has worked tirelessly to improve the innovation economy and create countless opportunities in technology for all throughout Southern Arizona,” said Steven G. Zylstra, ATC’s president and CEO. “She is an extremely valued member of our team and a key leader in our state’s technology ecosystem who truly deserves this recognition.” “I absolutely love the opportunity to work in the tech sector,” said Morales. “Pivoting into this industry was equally intimidating and rewarding. It has opened my eyes to the many opportunities available in Southern AZ and allowed me to combine two of my greatest passions: community improvement and economic growth.” There are about 800 member companies statewide in the ATC, nearly 300 of which are located in Southern Arizona. Morales said about 80% of the members are small- and medium-sized companies. Prior to joining ATC, Karla worked in several capacities at University of Arizona, including director of the Office of Multicultural Advancement, senior program coordinator for the Office of Government & Community Relations, and coordinator of desk and summer operations for Housing & Residential Life. She served as executive director of Rio Rico Health & Wellness, director of resource development at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and a program service evaluator for the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Morales earned a bachelor’s degree from UArizona and an MBA from Eller College of Management in May. She also is Chair of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board. “I am a firm believer that representation matters and being the first female leader, for the tech sector trade association in our region, is a matter of great responsibility,” said Morales. “My personal goal is to spread the message to all, but specifically women, that we have a right and a responsibility to not deprive our region and nation of the impactful contributions of the great women in science and technology.”

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PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By David Pittman


LEA MARQUEZ PE TERSON ‘

Chair Arizona Corporation Commission

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By Tara Kirkpatrick In state matters of corporate, energy and public policy, Lea Márquez Peterson often finds herself the lone voice from Southern Arizona. The region couldn’t be better served. The chairwoman of the Arizona Corporation Commission, former president of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, former U.S. congressional candidate, mother of two and business owner is an icon of public service to the community where she was raised. The number of organizations she has served over the years is eclipsed only by the number of miles she drives across the state each week. “We need to see more of Southern Arizona in statewide decisions,” Peterson said. “I really try to encourage others to participate, so our perspective is heard.” The product of an entrepreneurial family, Peterson grew up watching her grandparents run a successful tortilla factory and a turquoise shop. She and brother Edmund would call customers for their dad’s insurance company and wait tables at their mom’s community theater. “They always told us, you can accomplish what you set your mind to and build your future,” she said. A University of Arizona graduate with an MBA from Pepperdine University, Peterson devoted seven years to Shell Oil, owned several gas stations and opened a business brokerage firm. She led Greater Tucson Leadership as its executive director before becoming president of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, where she worked to give a voice to small business owners. “I really started speaking up and writing letters,” she said. “We made some pretty brave statements. I took criticism and I had support, but I was a spokesperson and I knew who I was representing.” After a run for U.S. Congress in 2018, Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Peterson to the ACC. She became the first Latina in Arizona history to hold a statewide seat and the only representative outside Maricopa County. Decisions about clean energy, climate change and water shortages now fill her day. She was just appointed to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Nuclear Energy Subcommittee. “Lea’s willingness to serve the families and businesses of Arizona is well-known,” said Ducey. “She has always been willing to use her extensive leadership experience to make our state a better place to live and work.” “I’m representing the rate payers,” Peterson said. “Even though I’m regulating some of the largest employers and utilities, I’m representing the people who can’t be at the table.”

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KATHY PRATHER

Superintendent and CEO Pima Joint Technical Education District

Kathy Prather has never lost sight of the importance of community. As CEO and superintendent of Pima Joint Technical Education District, Prather’s dedication and innovation have helped transform the futures of students across Southern Arizona. It’s no wonder that auto mogul Jim Click once told BizTucson, “there wouldn’t be a JTED in Tucson without Kathy.” Established in 2007, Pima JTED provides high school students across the region with free career and technical education programs, allowing them to earn industry certifications and licenses for direct employment, and dual credit for post-secondary success. “Our goal is to ensure that our students have the highest level of opportunities in our community,” Prather said. “To do that, we have to be aligned with what is happening in industry and what local businesses need. Not just what those needs are today, but what those needs are in the future. That pushes us to be proactive and to be cutting edge.” Prather has an extensive background in education, and taught at schools across Arizona. But as a born and raised Tucsonan, Prather’s heart is here. Her ingenuity and hard work have served this community well. With thousands of students able to access education that best suits their goals, they can prepare now for their futures after graduation. “We bring contextual learning into academics, and it makes our students academic performance stronger,” she said. “That’s what we’re about. We’re really excited about the engagement of our young people and their ability to be successful through the way that we deliver education.” Under Prather’s leadership, Pima JTED has established a synergistic relationship with businesses and community leaders to provide a qualified workforce for the future. “We want to ensure that students have the cutting-edge skills, credentials and licenses that businesses need,” she said. Prather and the Governing Board continue to advance the quality of Pima JTED education. Currently, in collaboration with the University of Arizona and others, JTED is building a new school for students pursuing health and medical careers. Soon, students will use virtual reality to peer inside the human body thanks to a grant from Rotary Club of Tucson. “Kathy has done a remarkable job expanding access to a unique blend of technical education opportunities for students throughout Southern Arizona,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “The work Kathy and her JTED team do to cultivate top talent is crucial for the growth of our community and the health of our business.”

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PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By Eva Halvax


SANDRA SAGEHORNELLIOT T President and CEO

Vantage West Credit Union

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

By Rodney Campbell Being a manager is one thing. Being a leader is something more. Sandra Sagehorn-Elliott sees the difference, and that knowledge helps her get top-notch efforts from her team as Vantage West Credit Union’s president and CEO. “I don’t believe you can ‘manage’ other people,” said SagehornElliott, who started in her position in late 2020. “Each individual chooses how they show up professionally. As a leader, I think it’s more important to provide inspiration. I want our team to see what a significant difference they make in our members’ lives and what a difference Vantage West makes in the communities we serve. “When team members understand the importance of their contributions, it is energizing and provides them the self-motivation they need to bring their best every day.” Peter Rice, now CEO of Hanscom Federal Credit Union, served under Sagehorn-Elliott as chief banking officer at Workers Credit Union in Massachusetts. He started there just before the pandemic, giving him the opportunity to see Sagehorn-Elliott’s leadership qualities shine during the most trying circumstances. “Sandra led with passion and common sense, focusing our team on what mattered, always liking to give our members an edge as they faced crisis and opportunity,” Rice said. “As a leader, Sandra is highly aware that a crisis today can, if managed correctly, provide opportunity tomorrow.” Sagehorn-Elliott is proud to work in an industry that welcomes women in leadership roles. A Credit Union National Association report last year showed that 51% of credit union CEOs are female, while women make up only 3% of CEOs at traditional banks. “I have been given incredible opportunities and support throughout my career,” she said. “I think it is incumbent upon people who have had an experience like mine to pay it forward and support people/groups who have traditionally been underrepresented in financial services as a whole and in the management ranks.” Sagehorn-Elliott has spent more than 20 years in financial services. She started as a call center representative in college and worked her way to leading an organization with more than $2.5 billion in assets. In the end, she gets her greatest satisfaction out of leading a team that meets the needs of approximately 170,000 Vantage West members. “I love what I do,” Sagehorn-Elliott said. “I get to work with a dynamic group of individuals who are committed to helping others. It’s fun to analyze the challenges we encounter and work with the team to come up with creative solutions. We’re constantly striving to do better today than we did yesterday and producing tangible results. That’s fulfilling.”

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MICHELLE TRINDADE Senior VP, Customer Experience GEICO

Michelle Trindade finds potential in everything. As senior VP of customer experience at GEICO, Trindade has been a catalyst for empowering teams to identify new, innovative ways to serve the insurer’s more than 18 million policyholders. Trindade’s career at GEICO began in 1997 as a sales counselor in Florida. She credits her mom, who referred her to this position, for helping her discover the abundance of opportunities available at GEICO, which has led to her own 25-year career and counting. In just one year, Trindade became supervisor; and then advanced through several leadership roles before being elected assistant VP in 2009 for the insurer’s mid-Atlantic operations. In 2018, Trindade’s career with GEICO brought her to Arizona when she was named regional VP with responsibility for all insurance operations in seven western states. Upon her arrival, Trindade was quick to fall in love with the Tucson community. “There’s something very special about the people in Tucson,” she said. Trindade was heavily invested in the construction of GEICO’s new location in South Tucson. She facilitated the relocation of over 1,500 people and aimed to provide team members with a welcoming environment to establish and maintain their careers. This site has become the most environmentally friendly building within the company, as 80% of its electricity is generated from solar panels in the parking lot. Through her life, Trindade has learned to balance many roles: working full-time while attending school through GEICO’s tuition benefit, being a mother and volunteering. As a volunteer, Trindade takes her own personal mantra to heart. She focuses on what she calls the three Ts: Time, Talent and Treasure. Trindade believes it’s most important to volunteer your time and talent to help others, and if you feel comfortable, follow that by donating money or critical supplies when possible. Trindade was the vice chair of the board of directors of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and actively volunteers with Zion City Church, where she mentors local business leaders and young adults. “Our United Way and entire community are stronger because of Michelle Trindade and her inspirational leadership,” said Tony Penn, CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “Her thoughtful contributions to our board of directors have led to impact and innovation. All those who serve with Michelle are better because of her talent and spirit.”

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By Eva Halvax


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BizPEOPLE

El Rio Health Names New CEO Clinton Kuntz joined El Rio Health as the next CEO upon the retirement of Nancy Johnson, who served El Rio Health for the past 14 years. Kuntz comes to El Rio Health from MHC Marana Healthcare where he served as CEO since 2013. He has experience in all areas of healthcare management including operations, finance, information technology and building construction. Kuntz serves on the board of directors of the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, Arizona Health Insurance Reciprocal Company, Sun Corridor Inc., Collaborative Ventures Network and P3 Arizona. He also serves on the board and is the president of VBCare Network, which focuses on valuebased contracting. Before coming to MHC, Kuntz served as CEO and COO in community health centers. As CEO, he led Fairfield Community Health Center, in Lancaster, Ohio, from a new single site Community Health Center to five sites serving all of Fairfield County. Before going to Fairfield Community Health Center, Kuntz served as COO and director of information technology for Muskingum Valley Health Centers. He holds a doctorate in behavioral health from Arizona State University, a master’s degree in information technology from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. On the personal side, Kuntz lives in Tucson with his wife Kendra and three children, Elijah, Mia, and Aireonahh. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, hiking, riding his Harley and spending time with his family.

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SPECIAL REPORT 2022

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION 2 0 www.BizTucson.com

Y E A R S

O F

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A Long

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Time Caring

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Long Realty Cares Foundation Marks 20 Years By Loni Nannini Twenty years ago, employees with the largest real estate company in Southern Arizona became agents of altruism: Long Realty Company broke new ground – not on a home, but on a foundation that has put millions of dollars into the community. Since 2002, the foundation has funneled donations of more than $3.5 million to 300-plus nonprofits of all sizes throughout the region. “The original premise of the foundation was to offer hope to those who needed housing or shelter,” said Steve Quinlan, who was president of Long Realty when the foundation was established. “That has evolved over time to

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include providing sustenance and comfort and serving other needs in the communities where we work and live. I am thrilled that it has been so successful.” Beneficiaries over the years have run the gamut − nonprofits that support social services, health, wellness and research, youth outreach, education, animal care and rescue, and arts education and outreach. The list of grant recipients reads like a “Who’s Who” of regional charities; many are well known while others may be less familiar. All are reflective of the distinctive character of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Funds have also continued on page 136 >>> Fall 2022

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BizPHILANTHROPY

PHOTOS COURTESY LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION

continued from page 135 been gifted to service organizations, scholarships, schools and school-related foundations, including the University of Arizona Foundation, Rotary and Soroptimist clubs, and other foundations and organizations that support nonprofits such as Angel Charity for Children, El Rio Health Center Foundation, TMC Foundation and many more. Ultimately, Quinlan said, Long Realty Cares embraces the philosophy that supporting those in need is a longterm investment in Tucson and surrounding communities, including Green Valley, Sahuarita and Sierra Vista, as well as other areas that Long Realty serves throughout southern Arizona. “It is important for each of us to give back to our community if we can afford to do that. It helps Tucson to be better. When Tucson does better, we sell more houses and it is great for businesses − not only for Long Realty Company, Long Insurance, Agave Title Agency (formerly Long Title) and Prosperity Mortgage (formerly Long Mortgage), but for other businesses and for the economy overall,” said Quinlan, who also recognizes that nonprofits themselves play an integral role in the region’s economic health. In fact, the nonprofit sector is ranked among Arizona’s top five nongovernment employers. It accounts for 7% of wages and salaries statewide, according to a 2016 study by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits. A Core of Caring Long Realty Cares was spearheaded by Quinlan and a core group of forward-thinking REALTORS® and executives, including now-retired Diane Weintraub, the late Christine “Wissy” Wendt and Rosey Koberlein, who was general manager of Long Realty Company at the time and is now the chair of Long Companies. The innovative group understood the power of cooperative philanthropy. “Long Realty had a history of support for community organizations, and we thought, ‘How can we leverage this to increase the contributions and expand the reach of that support?’ One way to do that was to get even more 136 BizTucson

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agents engaged in the process,” said Quinlan. After extensive research and planning, they implemented a process that enabled agents to contribute to the foundation during closings on sales transactions for homes and properties. Agents can choose to gift a percentage or flat fee from their commissions on sales. They can also opt to make annual donations. Long Realty Cares then sends acknowledgement to clients that a contribution to the foundation has been made in the client’s name. Long employees also participate by having contributions deducted from their paychecks. “This is a feel-good situation for consumers,” Koberlein said. “They appreciate that their sales associate is philanthropic-minded and that part of the sales associate’s commission went to the foundation to support nonprofits. Some clients are so impressed that they then make additional donations to the

Whether it is in regard to buying or selling houses or making donations on behalf of clients or on behalf of nonprofits, we strive to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

YOUTH ON THEIR OWN

COMMUNITY FOOD BANK

COMMUNITY FOOD BANK

Reneé Gonzales CEO Long Realty Companies –

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BEN’S BELLS

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

TROT

CASA DE LOS NINOS

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foundation themselves.” Shortly after it was formed, the foundation began funding monthly grants − most range between $500 and $5,000 − to local nonprofits. In 2017, it added larger “Annual Significant Gifts” of between $20,000 and $65,000 in an effort to “go above and beyond” the monthly grants with high-impact gifts. All gifts are made possible by more than 500 donors who have contributed at various levels over the years. Benefactors have donated up to $4,999; Patrons have gifted from $5,000 to $19,999 and Champions have donated between $20,000 and $49,999. Visionary Contributors have donated between $50,000 and $100,000 and include Christine and Russell Long − whose grandfather, Roy, founded Long Realty in 1926 − and Koberlein, who is gratified by the foundation’s momentum. “I honestly had no idea when we started this that 20 years later we would have contributed $3.5 million back to charities in communities around the state. I could not have imagined that it would grow this much,” Koberlein said. She credits the success to the inherent generosity of those who make real estate their careers. “It is within the DNA of REALTORS® to give back,” she said. “As a REALTOR®, your business base is your community, and you receive income from your community. Giving back to that community is critically important for how you live your life.” A Testament to Community Commitment In retrospect, Koberlein is particularly impressed that the foundation has maintained its mission through decades of local, national and global economic fluctuations. “For six of the past 20 years, we were in a serious recession during which real estate transactions and average sales were reduced by 50%. Those were challenging financial times, but agents and employees continued to contribute to the foundation to support nonprofits. It is a testament to their community commitment,” Koberlein said. That commitment was also tested during the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation rose to the occasion

I honestly had no idea when we started this that 20 years later we would have contributed $3.5 million back to charities in communities around the state.

Rosey Koberlein Chair Long Realty Companies –

by providing emergency grants to nonprofits that were struggling due to decreases in donations and loss of volunteers while simultaneously experiencing increased need from clients. The quick response by the board of directors filled unique needs through the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona; YMCA of Southern Arizona, which requested support for development of an after-school care program for first responders; the Educational Enrichment Foundation, which used funding to provide laptops for students during distance learning; and Mending Souls, which made face masks. “This was extra funding for these nonprofits when everything was uncertain and money was tight for everyone,” said Foundation President Thom Melendez. “Moving forward, we want to ensure that we have reserves so that we continued on page 139 >>> Fall 2022

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BizPHILANTHROPY continued from page 137 can consider emergency grants if needed again in times of financial distress. Changing Lives, Saving Lives Today, Long Realty Company boasts more than 1,400 licensed real estate sales associates in more than 40 offices, including 27 affiliate real estate and property management companies statewide. The business ranks in the top 30 of independent real estate companies in the nation based on the Real Trends 500 Survey, and its affiliation with the Long Realty Cares Foundation is a distinct attraction for many agents and employees, Melendez said. Melendez joined Long Realty in 2017 after a 10-year career in the nonprofit sector that included a role as major gifts fundraiser at the University of Arizona. He joined the board of directors for Long Realty Cares in 2018. “I know the gifts from Long Realty Cares Foundation are significant to nonprofits and I like the fact that the foundation gives to so many different organizations in Southern Ari-

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zona,” Melendez said. “I will never be a millionaire, but I know that my gifts through the foundation have a broader impact because they are combined with the donations of others.” That impact is facilitated by the diverse 17-member board of directors, each of whom is appointed to a threeyear term. Board members represent offices throughout the region. Board members are also affiliated with offices in Sahuarita, Sierra Vista and Green Valley and corporate, title and mortgage offices. “Long Realty and the Long Realty Cares Foundation is here to positively impact people’s lives: That is our ‘Why,’ ” said Long Realty CEO Reneé Gonzales. “Whether it is in regard to buying or selling houses or making donations on behalf of clients or on behalf of nonprofits, we strive to make a positive impact on people’s lives.” Long Realty agents represent varied backgrounds and cultures, ages, education levels, religions and economic status. The intent is for the board to open windows into different areas and neigh-

borhoods and to better understand the unique needs in the communities that they represent, ultimately proving more effective in the foundation’s mission to provide basic needs, comfort and sustenance. “When people join the foundation board, there is an enormous sense of pride that they are participating in the distribution of dollars they know their colleagues worked hard to earn,” Koberlein said. “They are serious about being good ambassadors for those funds so they have maximum impact.” As president, Melendez is not a voting member, but he is diligent about meeting with local organizations to monitor need in the community. He is constantly in search of new nonprofits while promoting awareness about the foundation and encouraging fellow board members to do the same. “I learned a phrase in philanthropy that stayed with me: ‘It is about changing lives and saving lives,’ ” Melendez said. “My vision is that the foundation will continue to change lives and save lives in our community.” Biz

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BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF TUCSON

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

TUCSON MEDICAL CENTER

SONORAN GLASS SCHOOL

ANGEL HEART PAJAMA PROJECT

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BizPHILANTHROPY

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Grant Process Values Inclusion Raffle Raises Thousands Each Year

EL RIO HEALTH CENTER, CHERRYBELL SOUTHERN ARIZONA AIDS FOUNDATION

Since it was formed, the Long Realty Cares Foundation has finetuned a unique dual-pronged process for implementation of the collective power of caring. “Many people who are philanthropic-minded have multiple interests and give to multiple nonprofits,” said Thom Melendez, president of the board of directors for the foundation. “For agents and employees of Long Realty Company who are already supporting charities, giving through the Long Realty Cares Foundation is almost like doubling or tripling your gifts − and in some cases, even more.” The foundation collects donations for grants primarily from Long Realty Company sales associates who gift funds through commissions during closings on home or property transactions. The optional gifts are a flat fee or a percentage of select transactions, and real estate agents can choose to have funds distributed per transaction or annually. All Long Realty Company employees can support the foundation through direct gifts by credit card, check or cash. Every donor to the Long Realty Cares Foundation is designated a “member” of the foundation and is then eligible to “sponsor” nonprofits. “To be a sponsor, you have to be involved with the charity. For example, if you want to sponsor Youth on Their Own, you have to be a volunteer or perhaps a board member of the nonprofit and then you continued on page 143 >>> Fall 2022

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PHOTOS COURTESY LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION

By Loni Nannini


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BizPHILANTHROPY continued from page 141 can ‘sponsor’ or request that YOTO become a beneficiary of a grant from the foundation,” said Melendez, adding that financial support to a charity also qualifies one as a sponsor. Each sponsor submits a written grant request to the board member affiliated with their respective Long Realty branch office. That board member presents the grant request to fellow board members and serves as a liaison between the sponsor and the board. Grants are funneled back into the community by the 17-member board of directors comprised of representatives from Long Realty Company offices throughout the region, including Sahuarita, Sierra Vista and Green Valley. Monthly Gifts that Keep Giving Grant requests generally range between $500 and $5,000 and multiple grants are gifted monthly depending on the funds available. Through August of this year, more than 40 monthly grants

We love the idea that everyone can join in.

Thom Melendez Board President Long Realty Cares Foundation –

of various sizes have been gifted to nonprofits to address diverse needs. “We love the idea that everyone can join in. By making a $25 or $50 donation, sometimes people think, ‘What will that do? It will help a little, but will it make a difference?’ When you get a bunch of people contributing and pool the donations, before you know it, your donation has touched 57 different char-

ities in just one year,” said Melendez. The foundation intentionally operates with only a small endowment, according to Board VP Ron Sable. “The board of directors holds back a small amount in case of catastrophe, but we believe it is our responsibility to get donor dollars into the hands of charities the donors actively support and to the programs that are so important. That is why we tell donors that their gifts can be leveraged into larger gifts for their favorite charities,” said Sable. Amplified Caring through Annual Significant Gifts The foundation takes gifting to the next level with Annual Significant Gifts − five-figure grants that were implemented because of the Ticket to Care annual fall raffle. The raffle, which has been trademarked by the foundation, is the brainchild of real estate agent Liz Peckham, board president from 2011-2013. A continued on page 144 >>>

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BizPHILANTHROPY

PHOTOS COURTESY LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION

Ben’s Bells

Both Long Realty Cares Foundation and Ben’s Bells are celebrating milestone 20th anniversaries this year and it was great to be able to partner with them to recreate the ‘I am Tucson’ mural with a new home at the Tucson Convention Center. Long Realty Cares Foundation stepped in as the lead sponsor for this mural, which we like to call ‘the conveyor belt of kindness.’ We have individuals, businesses and organizations coming in to create hundreds and hundreds of tiles for the mural that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

− Helen Gomez, Executive Director of Ben’s Bells Dedicated to spreading intentional kindness and reminding people to practice kindness daily. www.bensbells.org

continued from page 143 seasoned fundraising veteran for Catalina Foothills School District Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson and Tucson Medical Center We Are Champions (an affinity group of the TMC Foundation), Peckham developed the event in 2008 in response to ongoing need from local nonprofits. “We were trying to think of creative ways to fill the need of the community because we had so many grant requests, plus we wanted to gift some larger grants that would have a large-scale impact,” said Peckham. To that end, she created a raffle comprised of one-of-a-kind experiences − dinners with Long Realty executives, combination golf/spa days and other attractive prizes − that would appeal to groups of friends and families. The fundraiser was an instant success and has evolved to include more than 100 offerings each year with a grand prize of $5,000 and two $1,000 prizes, as well as gift cards to local restaurants, golf packages, art and jewelry, gift baskets from local businesses and much more. Since the onset of COVID-19, prizes have included $5,000 in gift cards from local restaurants purchased by the foundation in an attempt to offset the financial hardship experienced by small, locally owned businesses during the pandemic. Ticket to Care 2022 Raffle ticket sales are open to the public and begin online Oct. 10 and continue through Nov. 2.; tickets are one for $15, two for $20, 12 for $100, 65 for $500 and 110 for $750. Ticket to Care presents an affordable opportunity for the community to come together with a common goal of caring while raising funds for projects with far-reaching impact, according to Long Realty Cares Foundation Administrator Michelle Salvagio. “For only $15, you could potentially win a grand prize of $5,000, so this is truly a win-win because that money is going toward programs that continue to improve the places where we work and live,” said Salvagio. Since 2017, the foundation has gifted a total of six Annual Significant Gifts in amounts ranging from $20,000 to continued on page 146 >>>

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BizPHILANTHROPY continued from page 144 $65,000. Chosen by members of the board of directors, the diverse grants have served as vital seed money for projects such as the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th for LGBTQ+ youth; El Rio Health’s Cherrybell Health Center; the Healing the Healer Patio at Tucson Medical Center; the Habitat for Humanity Tucson Connie Hillman Urban Construction Knowledge (CHUCK) Center, and the Ben’s Bells “I am Tucson” Mural at Tucson Convention Center. Additionally, one grant provided an accessible van for Esperanza en Escalante, which provides transitional housing and other services for homeless and near-homeless veterans.

Haven Totes

“ PHOTOS COURTESY LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION

Long Realty Cares Foundation has blessed us so that we can bless others and ‘grateful’ doesn’t begin to describe how we feel. They are helping so many different organizations that support people and families who are out there trying to better themselves but have run into hard times. Everyone has hard times now and then, and Long Realty Cares Foundation helps to give people something to fall back on.

− Karen Stewart, founder of Haven Totes The all-volunteer nonprofit has received monthly grant funding to purchase nonperishable food staples for those from low-come families. Haven Totes serves more than 200 families monthly through its food bank at 701 S. Kolb Road and food pantries at Amphitheater Middle School, Apollo Middle School, Catalina High School, and several other local schools. It also offers emergency “Kid Totes” with weekend meals for students and emergency family food bags through 15 schools on the east side of Tucson.

A Pulse on Local Philanthropy Ultimately, the entire grant process for Long Realty Cares Foundation is designed to monitor the pulse of the everexpanding nonprofit sector in Southern Arizona and respond to needs through gifts both small and large. The grants are frequently accompanied by handson, personal support from members of the Long Realty Cares Foundation in the form of supply drives, in-kind gifts and volunteer hours. The net result is increased public awareness about the array of nonprofits serving the region. “REALTORS® encounter so many different people throughout their days and it gives them opportunities to really connect with different nonprofits,” Peckham said. “We deal with clients from every walk of life who know of organizations that many people have never heard about. Through the Long Realty Cares Foundation, we are in the perfect position to help get the word out and provide support.”

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Reaching Out Foundation Finds the Underserved and Lesser-known Nonprofits By Loni Nannini This year, Long Realty Cares Foundation marks a 20-year crusade of caring, a movement that has impacted 200-plus regional nonprofits. “This is a long list of local charities that represents countless individuals, families and lives in our community,” said Michelle Salvagio, foundation administrator for Long Realty Cares Foundation. Through monthly grants and fivefigure Annual Significant Gifts, the foundation has touched virtually every aspect of the nonprofit sector − social services, health, wellness and research, youth outreach, support for seniors and veterans, education, animal care and rescue, and arts education and outreach. Development of partnerships with nonprofits and communication with potential grant recipients has been key to the process, according to Salvagio. “Our board of directors is committed to cultivating relationships with both new and established charities through our Long Realty Companies donor members to give our grant dollars the biggest impact,” said Salvagio. Partnerships that empower Fittingly for an organization founded by a real estate brokerage, a longterm partner over the years is Habitat for Humanity Tucson, which is dedicated to facilitating home ownership for lowincome families that earn 40% to 80% of Pima County’s median income. The foundation has been instrumental not only in helping to establish 150 BizTucson

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HabiStore Tucson, but in coordinating volunteer teams to assist with building homes and, most recently, in providing $20,000 in seed funding for the Connie Hillman Urban Construction Knowledge (CHUCK) Center slated to open in January 2023.

We use the term ‘gamechanger’ in reference to Long Realty Cares Foundation and the support it has provided for Habitat for Humanity Tucson.

Charlie Buchanan CEO Habitat for Humanity Tucson –

“We use the term ‘game-changer’ in reference to Long Realty Cares Foundation and the support it has provided for Habitat for Humanity Tucson and the CHUCK Center,” said Charlie Buchanan, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Tucson. “We are excited about the bright opportunities that this facility will present to Habitat and the community. Currently, we close between 12 and 15 homes per year, and our goal is to increase that to 20 homes annually with the CHUCK Center.” The 14,000-square-foot center seeks to solve complex issues surrounding the construction labor force. In collaboration with Pima Community College, the facility will offer a hands-on learning lab to facilitate construction of homes and modular housing components while providing training in the plumbing, carpentry, framing and electrician fields. Warehouse space at the center will also allow Habitat to capture cost savings by procuring construction materials in bulk while minimizing supply chain issues. Buchanan emphasized that support from the foundation will help address the ongoing shortage of affordable homes in the current housing market, in which home prices have doubled and rent prices have increased by 60% over the last five years. “There is a dire need for skilled labor in construction and the trades across Arizona, and we will offer training in both construction and home repair,” Buchanan said. “The goal is to accelerate production and preservation of www.BizTucson.com


PHOTOS COURTESY LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION

affordable housing within Southern Arizona. We are trying to provide more opportunities for home ownership, which is a permanent solution to the stabilization of families and neighborhoods.” Support for the most vulnerable members of the community Potential stabilization of vulnerable populations was also the impetus behind the foundation’s $65,000 Annual Significant Gift to Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) in support of the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th. “The Long Realty Cares Foundation has been an amazing, longtime supporter of SAAF. The foundation’s contribution to our capital campaign for the Thornhill Lopez Center played a huge part in providing an affirming and safe space for LGBTQ+ youth,” said Monique Vallery, director of development for SAAF. Opened in 2017, the center provides an array of support and services for LGBTQ+ and allied youth ages 13 to 24, including a learning lab and computer center; performance space; a kitchen; laundry and showers; a bodega that supplies food, clothing and other basic needs, and common space for meetings and other activities. Vallery said it is a vital resource for marginalized community members, particularly since LGBTQ+ youth experience higher rates of homelessness, family estrangement, bullying and suicide. “The center allows young people

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SAAF

SARSEF

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM TUCSON

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BizPHILANTHROPY continued from page 151 to be recognized for their authentic selves,” Vallery said. “It offers a healthy and safe environment that can help with finishing school, assist with workforce development and build positive life skills so youth can continue forward and become contributing members of the community.” Promoting healthy alliances and awareness for nonprofits Development of healthy alliances with lesser-known nonprofit partners is also a priority for Long Realty Cares Foundation, according to foundation board President Thom Melendez. “The foundation does more than give grants. It also provides education and information to members about amazing charities and services available in the community that they might not be aware of,” said Melendez. Sol Food Initiatives is one such beneficiary. Dedicated to the elimination of food insecurity through collaboration, the nonprofit community kitchen was

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established through Saguaro Christian Church three years ago. It fed up to 100 families weekly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to supply 40 meals for the homeless each Wednesday at Saguaro Center, 8302 E. Broadway. Long Realty Cares Foundation has supported the efforts with monthly grants and emergency funding during COVID. “There is a real food desert on the east side of Tucson that many people don’t know about. These are lower income people that need help,” said Kerry Swindle, board chair for Sol Food Initiatives. “It is our goal to help them, and we are grateful that the foundation supports that vision. It has been a blessing for our program and so many others.” The foundation has championed other distinctive nonprofits such as the Angel Heart Pajama Project, which has gifted 38,000 pairs of pajamas and books to children in crisis since 2013. The nonprofit serves kids who are

homeless, abused, neglected, ill and low-income through 80 social service agencies predominantly in Tucson, Sierra Vista, Marana, Yuma and along the I-19 corridor. It also serves refugees and kids in shelters and the foster care system. Both the foundation grants and the exposure the nonprofit has received as a result of Long Realty Companies’ recent pajama/book drive are invaluable, according to Patti Lopez, executive director of Angel Heart Pajama Project. “The support is phenomenal. When we combine the foundation grants with the pajamas collected by Long Realty Companies, we will reach at least 1,500 kids,” said Lopez. “Many of these kids have never had a pair of pajamas. They just sleep in underwear or clothes. We understand the stress and difficulties that children face due to displacement and traumatic situations, and we are happy give them something special and to make a difference in their lives.

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BizPHILANTHROPY PAST FOUNDATION BOARD PRESIDENTS

Diane Weintraub Board President 2002 – 2005

Pat Jessup

Board President 2005 – 2008

Susan Barry

Board President 2008 – 2011

Liz Peckham

Board President 2011 – 2013

Trudie Penta

Board President 2013 – 2016

Barbara E. Moylan Board President 2016 – 2019

Anthony Schaefer

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Diverse Board Addresses Diverse Needs Foundation Board Focused on Helping Those Who Need It By Loni Nannini The Board of Directors for Long Realty Cares Foundation harness a wealth of knowledge and life experiences to leverage home commerce into caring. “Diversity is one of many strengths of the board of directors for Long Realty Cares Foundation,” said Pat Jessup, a real estate agent with the Oro Valley office who served as the second president of the foundation from 2005 to 2008. “The community of Tucson and Southern Arizona is culturally, economically and ethnically diverse. The board reflects that and so do the charities that the foundation supports.” Foundation board members boast backgrounds in government, private industry, education, health care, marketing, small business ownership, technology, and many other fields. Jessup emphasized that a large percentage of REALTORS®, himself included, have segued into real estate from other careers. “When you come to real estate as a second career, you bring a whole set of valuable experiences, goals and skills that affect how you practice real estate, how you live, and how you give,” said Jessup, a native Tucsonan and University of Arizona graduate who worked in aviation and fire management prior to earning his real estate license. Jessup believes that REALTORS®’ life experiences are enhanced by the time, talent and treasure that many dedicate to nonprofits, resulting in unique insight into the needs in Southern Arizona. That shared insight is fortified by a dedicated culture of caring, said Anthony Schaefer, president of the Long

Realty Cares Foundation from 2019 to 2021. “There is a beautiful spirit of service within the culture of Long Realty Company. All branches of the organization proudly join to empower the Long Realty Cares Foundation mission,” said Schaefer, who leads the Schaefer Team at Long Realty. A Spirit of Service The success of Long Realty Cares Foundation illustrates the elements of giving and caring that go hand-in-hand with careers in real estate, according to Jessup. “My feeling about the foundation is that the path traveled should be a bit better for you or I having traveled over it,” said Jessup. “I also think that if you have achieved some level of success, it is important to share it: We are paying back the future.” Jessup did his part guiding the young foundation through its first major gift − and largest single gift to date − for $200,000 in seed money to establish HabiStore Tucson in 2006. The venue offers the public low prices on home building supplies, appliances and furniture, while also providing the opportunity for local businesses, home builders and individuals to recycle new and gently used items and surplus materials. “HabiStore and Habitat for Humanity are a natural fit with the foundation. In the hierarchy of basic needs, a safe and comfortable shelter are at the top of the list,” said Jessup, who is also a long-time supporter of Ott Family YMCA, the Community Food Bank, and the Arizona Daily Star Sportswww.BizTucson.com


men’s Fund, which sends children from low-income and military households to summer camp. In a sense, the foundation itself has taken on the role of a philanthropic first responder, said Ron Sable, VP of the board for Long Realty Cares Foundation. “We are about responding to need. That is the critical criteria,” said Sable, who paired up with his wife, Patsy, a Tucson native, to form the Patsy Sable Team for Long Realty Company in 2004. Prior to relocating to Tucson, Sable enjoyed a 50-plus year career in aerospace defense − a highlight was working for the National Security Council under President Reagan. “Tucson is an amazing place. I don’t think you can watch a sunset here or look at the clouds over the mountains without recognizing how special it is,” said Sable. “However, it also has special needs, and there are a lot of them. That is where Long Realty Cares Foundation comes in. We may never address all the needs, but we can certainly do our part.” Many board members find the foundation’s support of nonprofits close to home particularly compelling, said Susan Barry, board president from 2008 to 2011. “When I took over in 2008, the housing crisis was at its peak. Obviously, that affected the foundation, but agents and employees of Long Companies continued to give because they felt it was important to support local organizations and the local community,” said Barry, who has been an agent with Long Realty for 22 years. She is based at the Oro Valley office with her partner and husband, Dr. Jim Levi, a retired orthopedic surgeon from Tucson Orthopedic Institute. “We also tried to make sure that small nonprofits doing necessary work received help to keep them from going under.” Barry finds the foundation’s continued support of deserving nonprofits beyond gratifying. “During our lifetimes, I think it is important to support organizations we feel strongly about and help them maintain their strength in the community,” said Barry, who has served on the board of directors for the Phoenix Arthritis Foundation and supports the University of Arizona Arthritis Center. continued on page 156 >>> www.BizTucson.com

President

Vice President

Thom Melendez

Ron Sable

Treasurer

Secretary

Paul Oelrich

Peter DeLuca

Matt Rivera

Sherry Ulasien

Jeni Hisko

Debbie Goodman-Butler

Reneé Gonzales

Jacque Torres

Jennifer Anderson

Martha Staten

Nancy Hennessey

Doreen Roush

Katherine Zellerbach

Deidra Spinks

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PHOTOS COURTESY LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION

FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBERS


BizPHILANTHROPY continued from page 155 Promoting Awareness, Empowering Nonprofits Foundation grants not only fund an array of worthy organizations, but also help to tell their stories to the public, said to Paul Oelrich, a seven-year veteran of the board and current treasurer. “We hear about so many deserving organizations centered in Tucson and surrounding areas that shore up so many factions of the community, whether through supporting children, diversity, veterans and seniors, or even by speaking kindness through the world. It is wonderful to give these recipients exposure,” said Oelrich, who began his career as a REALTOR® in 2012. His prior experience includes a 20-year career with American Airlines and nearly a decade as VP of marketing for Executive Development Systems in Dallas. Oelrich said he appreciates the opportunity to serve with the foundation after years of volunteerism, including stints as a board member for nonprofits such as IMPACT of Southern Arizona.

“There is a difference between serving on the board for a charitable organization and serving on the board for a foundation,” Oelrich said. “Charities are always in need of money and services, so it feels like such a blessing to be involved with the foundation, which is able to fund grants to charities. It is really a blessing to be able to give back to the communities that we serve as REALTORS®.” Secretary of the Board Peter DeLuca agrees that most realtors are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to those in need. “I think that the majority of REALTORS® feel fortunate to be in this business at the time we are in it,” said DeLuca, a graduate of Marana High School who became a REALTOR® in 1987 after careers in construction and massage therapy. “They are a really good group of people who are all trying to do the right thing and are very inclusive with the nonprofits that they support.”

Visionary Stewardship into the Future The ability of Long Realty Cares Foundation to distribute dollars across the nonprofit spectrum makes it a force for good now and in the future, said Schaefer. “Many foundations and nonprofits have a specific area of focus. In this instance, Long Realty Cares Foundation is working for the greater Tucson community by accumulating dollars and support to distribute to a variety of philanthropic organizations,” said Schaefer, a Tucson native who has been active with numerous organizations and fundraising efforts including El Rio Foundation, El Rio Vecinos, the 2022 American Heart Association Heart Ball Campaign and Social Venture Partners. “This ensures the entire community is taken care of, not just a specific subset.” With explosive growth in Southern Arizona corresponding to increased need, Schaefer believes the Long Realty Cares Foundation is more vital than ever to the health of the region. continued on page 158 >>>

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Youth On Their Own

PHOTOS COURTESY LONG REALTY CARES FOUNDATION

Long Realty Cares Foundation has been supporting Youth On Their Own consistently for many years. The foundation has given YOTO well over $33,000 in grants over the years and many employees with Long Realty Companies have also made contributions and supported in-kind drives to collect supplies for students. They have helped so many youths who are experiencing homelessness to graduate from high school with our support.

− Bethany Neumann, Director of Development & Communications for YOTO YOTO will support 1,500 middle-school and highschool youth in Pima County during the 2022-2023 school year as they pursue graduation and continued success. www.yoto.org

“We need to continue to build out our donor base and our supporters within the organization while also seeking outside supporters who can be confident that their dollars will be stewarded with responsibility and intentional focus,” said Schaefer. The foundation has worked diligently to raise its public profile through events such as the annual Tickets to Care raffle and other avenues, said Trudie Penta, who was board president between 2013 and 2016. Penta, who has been an agent with Long Realty since 1996, encourages the public to consider gifts to the foundation in honor of or in memory of others. “I did this recently when my friend’s husband passed away and she loved it. It is a great way to honor someone’s memory and raise money for the foundation,” Penta said. “All the money we raise goes right back into the community. The foundation has done so much, it is unbelievable.” Ultimately, the leadership, communication and commitment of current and former board members inspires the confidence necessary for a continued legacy of giving, said past president Barb Moylan, a 10-year veteran of the board and president from 2016 to 2019. Under Moylan’s guidance, the foundation established the “Annual Significant Gift” which has continued over the years. “The board members are fantastic. They have always had lively discussions as to the merits of the charities,” Moylan said. “When they review each grant request they look at how it will directly impact the charity and the clients each charity supports. I don’t remember a time I ever walked away from a meeting when I didn’t wish we had more money to give because the causes are so worthwhile.” Board President Thom Melendez has no doubt that the viability of the foundation is enhanced by the generosity and varied skills of its many members. “I think all of us recognize that philanthropy is made more powerful by the opportunity for people with different strengths and talents to come together to give back now and in the future,” Melendez said.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

BizPHILANTHROPY

Agent of Philanthropy Diane Weintraub Leads Foundation to Fruition By Loni Nannini As an avid volunteer and successful real estate agent, Diane Weintraub recognized the need to support the efforts of fellow real estate agents who were gifting time and talent to local charities. Weintraub had been with Long Realty for more than 20 years when she approached Steve Quinlan, who was president of Long Realty at the time, and then General Manager Rosey Koberlein with a proposition to establish what became the Long Realty Cares Foundation. “I said, ‘I want to do something for the company. We need to acknowledge the REALTORS® who are spending their time helping others.’ I did some research and we formed a board and then a foundation. The effort just grew and grew,” said Weintraub, who was the founding president when the foundation was formed in 2002. Quinlan credits Weintraub with working tirelessly to bring the concept to fruition. 160 BizTucson

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“Diane was an innovator, and other agents really embraced the vision,” he said. Weintraub particularly appreciates that the process provides both REALTORS® and their clients with opportunities to become stakeholders in nonprofits, essentially pulling more people into the circle of giving. “There are so many people in need and they appreciate the help so much,” Koberlein said. “If a REALTOR® gives part of their commission to an organization that they love, certainly the organization is going to talk about that REALTOR® and refer that REALTOR® to others. “For REALTORS®, this improves business, and it boosts awareness about the nonprofit. It also shows the REALTORS®’ commitments to the community. They aren’t just buying and selling houses; they are building community by helping others.” Starting the foundation was a gratify-

ing experience for Weintraub, a former psychologist, who arrived in Tucson at age 12. She graduated from Tucson High School and went on to attain a bachelor’s degree in sociology followed by a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from the University of Arizona. She counts Long Realty Cares Foundation among her greatest achievements in real estate and philanthropy. “It was a priority,” she said. “I loved being a REALTOR®, but I loved the foundation even more.” Ultimately, Weintraub is optimistic that the Long Realty Cares Foundation tradition of caring will endure and that the public will continue to embrace the mission. “Some people want to make money and keep it in their family. I think that is selfish,” she said. “There are so many ways we can help others, and I encourage everyone to think about their legacies.” Biz www.BizTucson.com


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Years of Community Giving

LongRealtyCares.com

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BizBRIEF

Mary Rowley

Roman Sandoval

Debbie Wagner

Michelle Garcia-Estrada

Adrienne Robertson

Trevor Davies

2022 Hall of Achievement Honorees Announced The Tucson Advertising Federation Educational Foundation recently honored professionals for the 2022 Hall of Achievement in advertising and marketing. These awards, which were given out in September, commend those who have excelled in their careers in this competitive field. Mary Rowley, managing partner and CEO of NüPOINT Marketing & Market Research, received the 2022 Silver Medal Award. It is a nationally recognized award for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and have been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern.

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Roman Sandoval, president of Sandoval Creative Inc. and Debbie Wagner, general manager of Arizona Lotus Corp., will be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame, which honors the best among local industry professionals who have led, mentored and inspired others to succeed in this industry. Michelle Garcia-Estrada, account executive/media buyer for Hilton & Myers Advertising, was named the 2022 Ad Professional of the Year, which recognizes marketing and advertising professionals who have also led, mentored and inspired others to succeed. The 2022 Next Gen Award was given to two recipients this year: Adrienne Robertson, general sales manager for

KVOA TV and Trevor Davies, producer/director for Cox Media. This award salutes advertising professionals 40 and younger who are making a significant impact on the industry through leadership, career achievements and personal qualities. Net proceeds from the AAFT Advertising Hall of Achievement event benefits the TAFEF, a 501(C)3 charitable organization that provides paid student internships for aspiring advertising and marketing professionals attending college in Southern Arizona.

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BizCONSTRUCTION

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Project: Location:

Butterfield Logistics Center Block D Butterfield Business Center, Michigan Street and Alvernon Way Owner: TPA Group Contractor: TBD Architect: Ware Malcomb Completion Date: First quarter 2023 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: The 195,000-square-foot industrial/distribution building includes a 135-foot truck court, 60 dock positions and a 32-foot clear height.

Project: FedEx Ground – Pier Docks and Parking Expansion Location: 3350 E. Westco Place Owner: Westco Tucson Contractor: Rio West Development & Construction Architect: Burton and Associates Architects Completion Date: March 2022 Construction Cost: $5.3 million Project Description: This is FedEx Ground’s second phase of expansion, which includes an additional 10 acres of site improvements and three more pier docks.

Project: Location: Owner: Contractor: Architect:

Lohse Family YMCA 60 W. Alameda St. YMCA of Southern Arizona Concord General Contracting Swaim Associates Architects Completion Date: Expected April 2023 Construction Cost: $4.3 million Project Description: Renovations to the existing building include updated pool and lobby, new front façade and the addition of a bike hub.

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Project: Rainbird Manufacturing Building Location: Southpoint Industrial Park Owner: Rainbird Corporation Contractor: Chasse Building Team Architect: WSM Architects Completion Date: May 2023 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: New 105,000 square foot manufacturing facility located on existing Rainbird campus

Project: Bomhoff Limited Location: 6424 S. Tucson Blvd. Owner: Burl Holdings Contractor: Rio West Development & Construction Architect: Burton and Associates Architects Completion Date: January 2022 Construction Cost: $650,000 Project Description: A 14,000-square-foot former bank vault building was renovated into a manufacturing facility for custom aircraft interior components.

Project: Cabana Bridges Location: 1102 E. 36th St. Owner: Holualoa Companies and Greenlight Communities Contractor: Greenlight Construction Architect: WORKSBUREAU Completion Date: March 2023 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: Cabana Bridges provides 288 attainable residential units with modern designs and desired amenities at attractive rental rates.

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BizFESTIVAL

TENWEST Returns Festival Celebrates Tucson’s Arts, Business Ecosystem By Tom Leyde The TENWEST Impact Festival returns to Tucson in November after a two-year COVID-19 pandemic hiatus. In its 6th year, the UArizona Center for Innovation (UACI) will join Startup Tucson as a co-lead for the event, which will take place in downtown Tucson Nov. 1-5. This year’s festival marks its sixth anniversary. “I’m unbelievably excited about the progression of this event. The energy and momentum has increased year after year,” said Eric Smith, executive director of the UArizona Center for Innovation. “UACI operation has been involved in idea funding since most of the event’s existence. The center is putting in a lot of time and resources to make not just IdeaFunding, but all of TENWEST even better this year.” The festival’s goal is to promote and foster a culture of innovation and sustainability, bringing together communi170 BizTucson

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ty innovators, artists, organizations and stakeholders. It also celebrates Tucson’s creative arts and business ecosystem. UACI is a full partner in this year’s festival. Headquartered at the UA Tech Park off Rita Road and Interstate-10, the center helps science and tech companies advance through a continuum of education and activity using a 27-point structured roadmap program. For nearly two decades, UACI has directly served over 200 companies and impacted thousands of entrepreneurs. This is done by providing access to people, programming, and places that help entrepreneurs take their companies from idea to market. Startup Tucson, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and the festival’s founder, began in 2012 and serves as an advocate, educator and connector to entrepreneurs. It assists more than 3,000 entrepreneurs annually and has more than 300 members.

Startup Tucson alumni have brought more than $44 million in investment and more than 400 new jobs to the area since its founding. The TENWEST multi-day event includes the IdeaFunding competition on Nov. 3, which marks its 25th year. Entrepreneurs compete for cash awards totaling $50,000. Arizona Commerce Authority is the title sponsor this year, while UAVenture Capital is sponsoring a $25,000 cash prize. Other prizes range from $2,500 to $10,000. The IdeaFunding competition is open to “early stage” Arizona companies. These are firms with less than $500,000 in funds raised or received in the form of a loan or grant, and with less than 10 full-time employees. Applicants pitch their companies before a panel of judges. “For 25 years, IdeaFunding has been a pillar for the entrepreneurial commuwww.BizTucson.com


PHOTOS: COURTESY TENWEST

Many entrepreneurs are coming out of the pandemic and launching businesses. –

nity of Southern Arizona,” said Startup Tucson CEO Liz Pocock, in a news release. “We are thrilled to bring the pitch competition ... back in person to celebrate this milestone and the impact prior winners and the event have had on Tucson over the years.” Recent major prize winners include Courtney Williams, co-founder of Emagine Solutions Technology, and Erica Yngve, founder of Sonoran Stitch Factory. Emagine developed a portable ultrasound device called VitaScan. The handheld device can be taken to remote communities to provide ultrasound services for OB-GYN and emergency healthcare where they are not currently available. Located in the San Ignacio Yaqui community, Sonoran Stitch Factory provides a variety of services, including single- and double-needle stitchery, embroidery, heat seal press, die cutter, www.BizTucson.com

Liz Pocock, CEO, Startup Tucson

button hole, grommet and RF welder services. Yngve also has two other companies: Bralessly, a fashion brand, and Postcraft products, featuring industrial sewn products for housing, healthcare, hotels, resorts and cruise ships. Along with pitches for prize money, TENWEST will feature major keynote speakers, a creative conference, a capital conference on investing in local entrepreneurs and an entire day on sustainability and the environment. Each evening will feature a TENWEST event focused on showcasing arts, culture and music within Tucson. This year will also include the first ever TENWEST Street Fest on Saturday Nov. 5 in partnership with the Toole Warehouse Arts District. This free event will include a full-day of food, art, technology and music, local vendors and entertainment on Toole Ave including luchadores and multiple beer gardens “The Street Fest is a common space for

the community to come out and meet local artists, entrepreneurs and musicians and have a great time celebrating Tucson,” Pocock said. The street fest is free, but other events require tickets. Base tickets start at $40 and all-inclusive tickets are also available. “The buzz around the different (festival) partners is really good,” Pocock said. “Everyone seems very excited. Many entrepreneurs are coming out of the pandemic and launching businesses,” she said. “It’s a great time for people to meet these people.”

TENWEST IMPACT FESTIVAL Nov. 1-5 For more information: www.tenwest.com.

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Todd Bisbocci

PHOTOS:COURTESY BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF TUCSON

BizAWARDS

James and Terri Zarling

Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson 2022 Awards By Tom Leyde Todd Bisbocci, along with Terri and James Zarling, have been generous supporters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson for years, and they have been honored with the clubs’ most prestigious awards. The Zarlings received the Youth Impact Award, while Bisbocci received the Click for Kids Award. The honors were announced June 10 at an event held at Casino Del Sol Resort. Both awards are given out annually by the Boys & Girls Clubs. The Click for Kids Award recognizes a person, couple or organization that has made a substantial impact on chil172 BizTucson

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dren at the clubs over a significant period of time. It was created in 2009 to honor Jim Click, president of Jim Click Automotive Team and is considered the Clubs’ highest recognition of gratitude. Winner Bisbocci is the owner of TacoBocci, which operates Taco Bell franchises. The company is building its 21st Taco Bell store in the Tucson area. Bisbocci has donated $100,000 annually to the Boys & Girls Clubs for seven years. He also serves as the clubs’ treasurer. “I was actually pleasantly surprised,” Bisbocci said. “I didn’t expect it.” The Oro Valley resident has a long

history associated with The Boys & Girls Clubs. He and his identical twin brother were club members while growing up in Hollywood, Calif. “It’s quite a bit different now,” he said of the organization. “It was (then) for boys and mostly sports. ... I was raised by a single mom. ... It means something to me personally.” He spent most of his youth in Hemet, Calif., where his grandparents lived. He went on to earn two college degrees: a bachelor’s degree in math and an MBA. For 23 years, Bisbocci worked for Taco Bell at the corporate level in Calicontinued on page 174 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizAWARDS continued from page 172 fornia and served on the Boys & Girls Clubs’ board in Orange County. Seven years ago, he moved to Tucson and bought 17 Taco Bell stores from the corporation. He’s a firm believer in the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs. “Number one, they proved a safe environment to keep youth out of trouble,” Bisbocci said. “It teaches youth social interaction. ... Today, there’s a huge educational component, which I think is great. They help kids with their homework, advanced studies, whatever they’re interested in. ... I love how it’s evolved to include education.” The Youth Impact Award, given to the Zarlings, was created in 2016 to recognize an individual, couple or organization that has made a major impact on young people through innovative direct club programming and support. The clubs’ staff members chose the recipient. The Zarlings created the Zarling Zoo Kids program. Each year the program

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They help kids with their homework, advanced studies, whatever they’re interested in. ... I love how it’s evolved to include education. –

Todd Bisbocci Owner TacoBocci

sponsors roughly 600 kids from the clubs’ clubhouses. They are given a free tour of Reid Park Zoo, and members of the zoo staff visit clubhouses twice a year to present programs.

“It was great for us, the Impact Award,” Jim Zarling said. “We didn’t expect it or anticipate it.” Zarling, a former president of the Boys & Girls Clubs, and his wife came up with the Zoo Kids program and presented it to the clubs’ director. They then went to the zoo’s CEO and the program was born. “It did everything,” Zarling said. “It accomplished everything that we cared about. ... The intention was, obviously, how much can we impact kids. It really was a fun thing,” he said. “It was great to see the wide-eyed kids during the presentations at the club houses. A lot of these kids have never been to the zoo. To be able to give them the opportunity is always a good idea.” The Zarlings moved to Tucson in 1977 from Wisconsin. Jim went on to start Excel Mechanical, one of the largest HVAC companies in Southern Arizona. Terri founded Casa Niños School of Montessori. Both are now semi-retired.

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BizAWARDS

FosterEd Pitches a Winner Nonprofit Aiding Foster Care Youth Awarded at Fast Pitch Tucson

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

By Tom Leyde Children in foster care need a lot of love and support, and FosterEd Arizona is doing just that. Established in Tucson in 2017, the nonprofit statewide organization focuses on providing foster care children with educational support. The group received more than $9,500 in financial support in March at the seventh annual Fast Pitch Tucson event held at the University of Arizona. The event is sponsored by Social Venture Partners of Tucson, which helps nonprofits gain more financial support. FosterEd was one of 10 organizations chosen to pitch their services to a panel of judges, with the hope of receiving financial donations. More than $100,000 was awarded during the event. This was the first time FosterEd was chosen to participate in Fast Pitch. “We were so shocked that the committee chose us,” said Jennie Hedges, FosterEd senior program manager for Pima County and a former foster parent. “It was so amazing.” FosterEd received the $7,500 Tucson Electric Power to the People Award by winning a vote by those attending the event and those watching it on television who texted their votes. The group also received $2,000, as did the other nine nonprofits. Financial pledges were still coming in at press time, so the total amount of donations FosterEd received isn’t fully known, said Hedges. “It was such a wonderful night,” she said of the event. “Everybody had a great time.” FosterEd is an initiative of the Na176 BizTucson

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tional Center for Youth Law, which engages in litigation and poverty work for education needs in Arizona. A 2015 report, commissioned by the Arizona Community Foundation, found that children in foster care in Arizona have a 33% rate of graduation from high school, compared with a 78% average for the rest of the state. That gap prompted the establishment of FosterEd Arizona in Tucson. “We hope to really help youth with anything having to do with education, Hedges said, “to help them graduate from high school and with whatever they plan to do next.” Foster care children are emancipated from care at age 18, so preparing them for that time is especially critical for them to achieve success. These youth can choose to continue to receive FosterEd support if they choose, Hedges explained. That support can include help with resumés and job searches, as well as helping them navigate college applications. Funded by state and philanthropic donations, FosterEd not only works with children; it also works with foster parents and the biological parents of foster children. Assistance fluctuates based on the amount of time children remain in foster care. The overall goal of FosterEd, Hedges said, is to unify the homes of foster children. The group provides tools for foster parents, biological parents and FosterEd liaisons. They include best practices for supporting foster youth, an academic plan, a compensatory education services guide and a wellness guide.

FosterEd also created a first-ever Youth Education Toolkit. The toolkit includes information on law, policies, practices and stories that address the distinct needs of foster care youth and inspire them to succeed. The organization prioritizes working one-on-one with foster children, Hedges said. Liaisons act as advocates, attending school meetings and even accompanying older youth when they enroll in college. Pima County schools, Hedges said, have given liaisons space where they can meet and work with foster care youth. “We’ve celebrated a lot of graduations and going on to college,” Hedges said. Last year, 70 foster care youth in Pima County graduated from high school. And since FosterEd Tucson has been in existence, it has aided some 1,800 foster care youth. In April, the group opened its first central office near Country Club and Broadway, which will accommodate a working office and one-on-one interaction with students. Hedges said FosterEd can give talks on its services to Tucson groups and will hold workshops for people who want to become more empowered advocates for foster children. “To know that people who were watching (Fast Pitch) that night is so exciting and special, especially for a program like ours,” Hedges said. “We’re fairly new. We hope to spotlight and share more awareness of children in foster care because education is very important.”

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Jennie Hedges Senior Program Manager Pima County, FosterEd

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BizRANKINGS

TUCSON On The Radar How the Region is Getting Noticed

Tucson Ranks No.2 as Top U.S. BikeFriendly City by Livability.com

UArizona Listed Among Top 50 Public Universities by U.S. News and World Report

New Study by Commercial Cafe Hails Tucson as No. 4 in Best U.S. Cities for Gen Z

Forbes Recognizes Pima Community College as 5th Best Employer to Work For in Arizona

The website, which focuses on small and medium-sized cities, gave top marks to Tucson for its bike-friendly culture. In addition to lauding The Loop, Livability.com said, “with plenty of sunshine to encourage spending time outdoors, there are regular cycling events and rides that take for a variety of skill levels — from leisurely cyclists to the more hardcore athletes; you’ll find it all in Tucson.”

The magazine’s 2023 Best Colleges ranked the University of Arizona No. 48 among public universities and No. 105 overall. UArizona ranked No. 11 among all colleges and universities designated as Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The university’s undergraduate program in management information systems was No. 3 among public universities and No. 5 overall.

The real estate listing service rated 45 U.S. cities best suited for 18-25 year-olds, based on factors such as affordability. Internet speed, recreation, green commuting options and unemployment. Commercial Café praises Tucson as GenZers make up over 11% of the population–the largest share of all the cities studied.

The magazine named Pima Community College on its 2022 list of the best employers in the country. Pima Community College was listed at No. 5 in the state and the top employer in Pima County. The list was compiled by surveying employees working for businesses with at least 500 employees.

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